The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Chicagoland and Illinois Chambers of Commerce hosted a “2012 Hiring Our Heroes” Veterans Job Fair on March, 28, 2012 at The Chicago Hilton. Army Veteran, Marcus Washington from Oak Park fills out an application. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2012 8:21AM
The Chicago area unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February, down significantly from 9.6 percent a year ago, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
It was the lowest monthly rate reported since local unemployment reached a peak of 11.8 percent in January 2010. The local jobless rate, which is not seasonally adjusted, was 9.6 percent in January.
“Job growth continues to bring down the unemployment rate,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a statement. “That same job growth also encourages individuals to jump-start their job search, which actually works to push the unemployment rate upward. More jobs and more people confident enough to look for work are reasons to be optimistic.”
The Chicago metro area added 38,100 jobs since February 2011, with the education/health services and manufacturing sectors adding the most jobs.
Illinois’ metro areas with the highest unemployment were Kankakee/Bradley with a rate of 12.9 percent (down from 13.7 percent a year ago) and Rockford, with 12.8 percent (down from 14.1 percent). The lowest rate was in Bloomington/Normal, 7.5 percent, down from 7.7 percent.
Illinois’ unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in February, above the national average of 8.7 percent.