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State Unemployment Drops To Lowest Since Recession, But Still Behind The Nation

Gov. Pat Quinn
Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois unemployment rate is at its lowest mark in five years. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is touting the news, but the state still lags the nation.       

Governor Quinn was exuberant during a stop at a manufacturing company in the Chicago suburbs.

“Unemployment is at it's lowest rate in the last 5 and a half years and we're very happy to say that Illinois' economy is on a roll,” Quinn said.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

That's a drop of half a percentage point in one month, the biggest drop in decades.

But Republicans say don't believe the hype.

State Senator Kirk Dillard, a Republican from Hinsdale, says one good month doesn't make a trend.

“We still have one of the highest unemployment rates in America.  And that's unconscionable for a state that ought to be the capital of the Midwest and has so many things going for us,” Dillard said.

Senator Jason Barickman, from Bloomington says the state continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

"We continue to see national trends that are very encouraging.  That the country's unemployment rates are falling.  They're falling more significantly and quicker than they are in Illinois," Barickman said.  "So it's good that Illinois is catching up or trying to follow what's happening nationally.  I just wish we would lead the pack, not follow it."

Barickman attributes much of Illinois' weak performance to the uncertainty over state government's financial situation.

The manufacturing sector was the worst performing over the past year, losing nearly 9,000 jobs.

Lee Strubinger completed the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting graduate program and is currently in Colorado.
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