CHICAGO (STMW) – For a third straight month, the unemployment rate dropped in Chicago and every other metropolitan area across Illinois in November compared with a year ago.

It’s the first time that’s happened in four years — “ further evidence that the Illinois economy is on the right path,” Maureen O’Donnell, director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, said Thursday.

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In Chicago, the rate fell from 10.3 precent in November 2009 to 8.9 percent last month. That was among the biggest drops in unemployment in the state.

Despite the good year-to-year news, the unemployment rate in the Chicago area in November was unchanged from October.

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The metropolitan area that recorded the largest year-to-year decline: Rockford, where the unemployment rate dropped from 15.5 percent to 13.7 percent, still the highest in Illinois, though, followed by the Kankakee-Bradley area, which fell from 12.9 percent unemployed to 12.1 percent; and the Danville area, which fell from 11.7 percent to 11 percent.

The lowest unemployment rates were in Bloomington-Normal, at 7.1 percent, down from 7.7 percent a year ago; and Springfield, 7.5 percent, down from 7.9 percent.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)