Unemployment falls in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent, the sixth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The latest figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.7 was in July 2008, when it was 6.6 percent.

There are 40,600 more jobs than one year ago, the department said.

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way last month, adding some 5,000 jobs statewide. Roughly 4,300 jobs were added in the trade, transportation and utilities arena, along with 3,300 in professional and business services.

August unemployment numbers for the city of Decatur are not yet available. In July, Decatur's unemployment rate was 9.5%. Although the numbers overall are encouraging, they don't necessarily take into account the number of people who have run out of benefits, quit looking, or are "underemployed." The "EconoMonitor" attempts to put those numbers in perspective.

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