More people seeking work are having difficulty finding jobs, according to new employment data from the state.


The latest jobs data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security reports 1,500 new jobs in January for Illinois, but also that the state’s unemployment rate increased from 6.1 to 6.3 percent.


IDES says growth areas were trade, transportation and utilities, and educational and health services, while drops were seen in government and other services.


IDES Analyst Evelina Loescher attributes the increased unemployment rate to more people entering the workforce.

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“With more people looking for work, it just will take them a little longer to find a job,” Loescher said.


While the governor’s office says Illinois’ bad business climate is a jobs killer, leading Democrats contend the budget impasse is affecting joblessness.


Democratic state Sen. Kimberly Lightford told administration officials earlier this week that state budget-related cuts are exacerbating the problem.


“Yeah, there’s loss of jobs because you’re laying everybody off,” Lightford said.


Tim Nuding, director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, said the unemployment problem isn’t just from the past year. Nuding said the nation has gained 12 million jobs in the last 15 years while Illinois lost 100,000 during the same period.


“Until we reverse that, we will never fix our budget problem,” Nuding said.


A statement from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jim Schultz says it’s “completely unacceptable that Illinois’ unemployment rate rose” and the state “must take action to jumpstart growth, and create jobs and economic opportunity.”


Illinois’ unemployment rate remains above the national average, which is below 5 percent.


(Copyright WBGZ / )