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Unemployment Rises In Illinois For First Time In 15 Months

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Job seekers wait in line for a job fair June 4, 2009 in Chicago. (Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Unemployment in Illinois was up modestly last month, breaking a 15-month trend of declining joblessness in the state.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday that in May, the state’s unemployment rate had risen 0.2 points to 8.9 percent.

But the department said no significance should be read into the statistic, since “slight up-and-down movements in the rate and the number of jobs created naturally occur in an economic recovery.”

The national unemployment rate was also up in May, rising 0.1 point to 9/1 percent.

But the good news is that Illinois added about 8,200 jobs in May. Since January 2010 when positive employment figures resumed in Illinois, the state has added about 107,000 net new jobs, the department said.

Still, the number of unemployed people in Illinois was up for the first time since January 2010. It rose 1.7 percent, or 9,800 people, to a total of 585,000.

The total number of unemployed people in Illinois had dropped 21 percent, or by about 155,100 people, since January 2010 when unemployment in Illinois peaked at 21 percent.

The unemployment rate is defined as those who are out of work and looking for a job. Those who exhaust their benefits or are ineligible for them are still reflected in the figure, provided that they keep looking for work, the department said.

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