Illinois is reporting a significant drop in the unemployment rate. The rate fell from 9.7 percent in December to 9.4 percent in January, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday. The drop of three-tenths of 1 percent is the largest one-month decline in 20 years (September 1992).
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Despite the drop, the unemployment rate is the same now as it was last year at this time. Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Department of Employment Security, says businesses are hiring, and hiring begets more people being active in the work force, which causes the unemployment rate not to drop as quickly as the job creation data would otherwise indicate. Illinois gained 3,800 jobs over the month and 29,200 jobs over the last 12 months. Still, 620,000 people are unemployed, and the Illinois unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is above the national rate of 8.3 percent.