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State loses 1,800 jobs in May, but jobless rate dips again

A new MacBook Pro with Retindisplay is used by customer an Apple store Palo AlCalif. Thursday June 14 2012. The

A new MacBook Pro with Retina display is used by a customer at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The MacBook Pro with a resolution of 2,880 by 1,800 pixels, the Retina screen can show every pixel in a five-megapixel shot, all at once. It has more pixels than a high-definition TV set — 2.5 times as many. The MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $2,199. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

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Updated: August 1, 2012 12:57PM

The state lost 1,800 jobs in May, but the unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent from 8.7 percent in April, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The decline in the unemployment rate in May was the ninth straight drop. The jobless rate can fall even as jobs are lost when people give up looking for work, dropping out of the labor market.

The loss in jobs follows a revised loss of 2,800 jobs in April, IDES said. The agency had initially said 100 jobs were created in April.

Prior to April, the last reported job loss in the state was in November 2011, when 600 jobs were lost.

Regarding the back-to-back months of job losses, “We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress,” said Gov. Pat Quinn’s press secretary Brooke Anderson. “We’re encouraged that unemployment went down for the ninth month in a row.”

The April and May job losses statistically are not worrisome because they follow past patterns, contends IDES spokesman Greg Rivara.

“There remains the pattern of a stable moderately paced job growth punctuated by monthly variations,” he said. “The three-month moving average shows job growth at 1,700 each month. In the beginning of the year, that moving average was 7,600. What it shows us is that the economy continues to improve but at a very uneven pace.”

The state is confident in that assessment because “this is the same pattern that occurred in 2010 and 2011,” he said. “We had strong job growth in the first part of the year, and hit a soft patch in the spring and in the summer. Now we need to see if the rest of 2012 is going to look like 2010 and 2011.”

The biggest job losses in Illinois last month were in professional and business services, down 5,600; construction, down 4,600; and leisure and hospitality, down 1,800.

The biggest job gains occurred in manufacturing, up 4,800; trade, transportation and utilities, up 3,200; and educational and health services, up 1,000.

Year-over-year, the biggest job losses were in construction, down 12,200; government, down 11,200; and other services, down 7,500.

The biggest gains were in professional and business services, up 24,000; manufacturing, up 19,500; and leisure and hospitality, up 8,300.

The national unemployment rate in May was 8.2 percent. It typically has been lower than the state’s rate.

The number of jobless in Illinois fell by 6,900, or 1.2 percent, to 564,400. That is the ninth straight drop. The total number of unemployed has dropped by 188,400, or 25 percent, since January 2010, when the unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent.

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