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Illinois unemployment rate falls again, to 6.8 percent in July

Updated: September 16, 2014 6:34AM



Gov. Pat Quinn held a news conference Thursday at a Back of the Yards business to announce another drop in the Illinois unemployment rate.

The rate dipped to 6.8 percent in July — the lowest level since August 2008.

In July 2013, the rate was 9.2 percent, and that 2.4-percentage-point drop is the steepest one-year decline in 30 years.

Quinn, in a tough re-election fight, called the numbers “further proof that we are heading in the right direction.” He held his news conference at Wheatland Tube, the largest tube and conduit manufacturer in North America.

The state Department of Employment Security says the drop in the overall rate was the fifth straight monthly decrease in the state’s jobless rate.

The last time the rate was lower than 6.8 was in August 2008 when it was 6.7. There are 35,600 more jobs than one year ago. The monthly employment report that the department released Thursday shows 11,200 private sector jobs were created statewide; 3,900 of those were manufacturing jobs, Quinn said. Since a year ago, 127,000 more people are employed in Illinois, including 17,000 in manufacturing, he said.

Contributing: AP

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