- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois’ unemployment rate fell in November to its lowest level since June 2008, hitting 6.4 percent, the state Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

November’s jobless rate was down from 6.6 percent in October, and dropped even with more people seeking work. The state’s labor force grew by 16,500 to 6,547,000, department spokesman Greg Rivara said.

As the recession worsened in June 2008, unemployment across Illinois was at 6.3 percent and rising. As recently as last fall, the jobless rate was above 9 percent, but the figure has now fallen in seven of the past eight months.

“Key economic points in November show our economy continues to move forward. More people are working and re-energizing their job search and employers say they have vacancies to fill,” department director Jay Rowell said in the monthly report.

Manufacturing and construction firms led November’s growth. Manufacturers added 3,600 jobs and construction companies added 2,100. Firms that make nondurable goods accounted for a net gain 2,700 jobs, most of the manufacturing increase.

“Food manufacturers drove this sector,” Rivara said.

The biggest job losses were among trade, transportation and utilities firms, which cut a net 8,700 jobs. Retailers accounted for the biggest piece of those, Rivara said.

The national jobless rate in November was 5.8 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor said earlier this month.

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