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State Unemployment Rate Reaches 11 Percent

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CHICAGO — Illinois' unemployment rate continued to climb last month, rising to its highest level in more than a quarter century, officials reported Thursday.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rose from 10.5 percent to 11 percent between September and October, bringing the rate to its highest mark since August 1983. As recently as October 2008, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent.

The department said the number of jobs fell by 3,200 – making October the 21st straight month in which the number of jobs has dropped.

In all, the number of non-farm jobs in the state last month was just over 5.63 million, the lowest number since September 1995.

But officials also said that the rate at which people have lost their jobs slowed considerably. And, while the number of jobs in the trade and transportation sector and the manufacturing sector dipped slightly, other sectors, including construction, educational and health services and professional and business services, showed slight gains.

Maureen O'Donnell, the department's director, said the "slowing pace of job loss and other leading economic indicators bring with it cautious optimism." But, she said, "they are of little comfort to those seeking meaningful employment during this national recession."

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased 0.4 percent to reach 10.2 percent – the highest the rate has been since April 1993.

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