The Illinois unemployment rate inched up to 11.5 percent in March from 11.4 percent in February, maintaining its highest rate in 27 years.
On a brighter note, the report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security also showed that employers added jobs — 3,000 in March — for the third straight month.
The seeming dichotomy isn’t surprising because as jobs are created, people become more encouraged about their chance of getting a job and re-enter the work force, said IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell.
The latest numbers show that 148,500 fewer people were employed in Illinois in March than in March 2009.
- The number of newly laid off people signing up for unemployment benefits climbed for the second straight week, and industrial production edged up just 0.1% in March, lagging expectations despite growth in the key manufacturing sector.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that first-time requests for jobless benefits rose 24,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the highest level since late February. Economists were predicting claims would fall.
It marked the second week that claims took an unexpected leap. In the prior week, claims rose 18,000 to 460,000.
A government analyst, however, cautioned against reading too much into both weeks' figures, saying they were clouded by seasonal adjustment difficulties related to the Easter holiday, which falls on different weeks each year.
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