Illinois officials say the state's unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent in June, four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the previous month, when the rate stood at 10.8 percent.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security said the June rate represents the third consecutive monthly drop.
But IDES Director Maureen O'Donnell cautions that long-term trends will be a better gauge of the state's economic health because the rate is bound to fluctuate even during an economic recovery.
"Those long-term trends reflect cautious optimism among employers and job seekers. We must expect than an economic rebound following the deepest national recession in generations will include up-and-down movements in the jobs and unemployment rate," she said, according to the Northwest Herald.
There were 693,900 people unemployed in June, 26,900 fewer than in the previous month. The Illinois economy added 9,000 new private-sector jobs, including about 1,600 in manufacturing.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 9.5 percent.