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Illinois Unemployment Falls Again

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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.  

``Five months of job creation coupled with increased help-wanted advertising indicate a bit of momentum as we head into the Fall,'' Jay Rowell, the department's director, said in a statement. ``It is not surprising that fewer people are looking for work given retirement trends, although it does underscore that more needs to be done to give the long-term unemployed the skills necessary to secure meaningful employment.''  
The positive numbers quickly became fodder in the Illinois governor's race. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn called Thursday's release proof of the state's economic comeback, while Republican challenger countered that the state has ``a huge ways to go to get out of the massive hole'' he blamed on Quinn, his predecessor and the Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, all Democrats.  

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way last month, adding some 5,0 jobs statewide. Roughly 4,300 jobs were added in the trade, transportation and utilities arena, along with 3,300 in professional and business services. 

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