Illinois unemployment

IDES

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate fell below six percent in February.

  

The drop to 5.4 percent leaves Illinois' jobless rate at its lowest since late 2007. Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released by the department Thursday indicate 25,600 non-farm jobs were added to Illinois' economy last month.

January job growth was revised to show an increase of 8,100 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of 1,700 jobs.

The unemployment rate rose in most Illinois metro areas from January 2016 to January 2017.  

Illinois Department of Employment Security, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate in many northern Illinois counties fell from last year. 

Rockford’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent last month -- down from 7.4 percent in November 2015. That’s according to preliminary figures released last week by the Illinois employment security department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The latest data shows the number of unemployed Illinois residents is at its lowest since September of 2007.

But officials with Governor Bruce Rauner's administration say Illinois is still lagging when it comes to job growth.

Bob Gough, with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says the state has nearly 40,000 fewer jobs than peak employment, in pre-recession fall 2011. 

Illinois is the nation's worst in reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

The state overpaid a lot of unemployment money during the past four years: $714-million. And it only recovered 37% of that money. That’s the worst record in the nation. The national average is 66 percent.

Unemployment overpayments are benefits collected by people who aren’t eligible for them, whether done intentionally or as a result of not understanding the rules once they return to work.

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