Illinois unemployment fell in July to 6.8 percent, the fifth straight monthly decrease, to reach a six-year low, the state Department of Employment Security said Thursday.
The July figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.8 was in August 2008 when it was 6.7. There are 35,600 more jobs than one year ago.
The monthly employment report that the department released Thursday shows employers creating 11,200 private-sector jobs.
"Illinois’ comeback is going strong and we’ve got more work to do," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a written statement coinciding with his visit to Wheatland Tube, a pipe and conduit manufacturer. "Today’s news that unemployment has dropped to its lowest level in nearly six years is further proof that we are heading in the right direction."
The federal government said earlier this month that national unemployment rate edged up to 6.2 percent in July. Rates in Wisconsin and Indiana ticked up a bit, to 5.8 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.
IDES Director Jay Rowell said the falling jobless rate "seems to be picking up momentum with the warmer weather."