The state’s unemployment rate falls below 6 percent for the first time since 2008.
That may be the only good news out of June unemployment report.
Despite the rate falling to 5.9 percent, the state lost 7,500 jobs in the same month. Evelina Loescher, labor market information director for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says the labor force has been shrinking for almost all of 2015.
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“By more than 30,000 since the beginning of the year,” Loescher said. “We’re seeing this nationally as well, but Illinois seems to be suffering slightly more than the nation.”
Illinois remains above the national unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.
The long-term trend appears to be positive, according to Loescher, as the state’s unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point in the past year, with the decrease in the labor force affecting the rate more since January.
Still, she estimates Illinois won’t see the number of jobs reach pre-recession levels until September 2016.