03/02/2012 04:21 pm ET

Illinois Unemployment Declines For Fifth Straight Month, Governor Lauds State Economy

The Illinois Department of Employment Security on Thursday announced that the state's unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percent in January, the largest one-month decrease in nearly two decades.

Illinois added some 3,800 jobs and registered an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, marking the fifth straight month of decline, even as the state's rate remains a full point higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, the Associated Press reported.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the biggest month-over-month job gains were made in the areas of professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and financial activities. The biggest job losses were reported in the areas of educational and health service and trade, transportation and utilities.

Illinois has reportedly added 122,900 private sector jobs since January 2010, when the state began to recover after 23 straight months of decline, the Sun-Times reports.

The same day unemployment data was released, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn lauded a Site Selection magazine analysis which ranked the state seventh among the top 10 locations for corporate facilities to locate and expand in the nation. Chicago ranked second in the nation in the magazine's metropolitan areas category.

In response, the governor said his office is "committed to creating jobs and working hard to make Illinois an even more attractive place to do business not only in the Midwest, but globally."

But the week was not filled with entirely sunny economic news for the Illinois governor's office. The Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday voted 95-11 to cap estimated state revenue for the 2013 budget at $33.7 billion -- $200 million lower than the prediction Quinn outlined in his budget proposal, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The lowered revenue estimate means that more cuts likely lie ahead in the budget-writing process, which House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) admitted "will be awful, but we can do it," the Herald-Review reports.

"Is there going to be angst? Yes," Cross succinctly predicted, according to the Herald-Review.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) supports the lowered revenue estimate, the Tribune reports, while the governor's office stands by their originial figure.