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Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Many northern Illinois drivers are kicking themselves today for not gassing up earlier this week. Gas prices throughout the Midwest have skyrocketed over the past two days. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices continue to drop all around the state. In Rockford, the cost of a gallon of regular fell more than a nickel since last week, to $2.50.

The state average is $2.60 a gallon. That’s down about 3 and a half cents from last week and 95 cents cheaper than it was a year ago. Drivers are spending 30 cents less per gallon than they were just a month ago.

The biggest health system in the DeKalb area is joining Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. That’s if a plan wins approval by state regulators.

KishHealth System and Northwestern Memorial Health Care announced they’ve agreed to join together. Their boards issued a joint statement about the proposed merger Wednesday. This means Northwestern Medicine would expand to include a total of six hospitals and 90 locations in northern Illinois.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Minnesota will surpass Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota this week with the highest minimum wage in the Midwest.

The $9-per-hour wage taking effect Saturday is the second of a three-stage increase adopted last year. Next year, the wage will rise fifty cents and go up automatically with inflation in following years.

For now, this step gives The Gopher State the highest minimum wage of any state away from both coasts. The next closest wage in the region is South Dakota's $8.50 per hour, which is higher than Illinois's at $8.25.

IDES

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says May was the fifteenth month in a row that unemployment rates fell in every metro area in the state compared to a year ago.  Rates also fell in all of Illinois’s 102 counties. 

Department Director Jeff Mays noted that three metro areas in northeastern Illinois, including the Elgin area at 4.8 percent, Lake-Kenosha and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metro areas, had returned to pre-recession unemployment rates.

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