Illinois’ unemployment rate fell 5.8 percent in July, and this time, the labor force grew along with it.The 1,900 non-farm jobs the state added in July doesn’t make up for the 7,500 lost in June. Evelina Loescher, labor market information director with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says job growth in Illinois is lagging behind other states. “We’re seeing very little growth in Illinois this year,” Loescher said. “We’re growing only about one-quarter of the pace that the nation is growing, and it will take at least until September 2016 to reach levels we had before the recession.”
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While the unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percentage point in the past year, and more than 50,000 jobs have been added, Loescher says those are only modest gains compared to the rest of the states.The sector with the biggest gain in July was government, where 2,600 jobs were added. While that may seem strange in a month where there was no state budget in place, Loescher says most of those additions came from local governments. “Sometimes the reasoning there is just because of the timing differences of when people are going to school or getting out of school, and so the hiring starts early or late relative to the period that’s being surveyed,” Loescher said.