Illinois' unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in April, improving for the 15th consecutive month.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the new figures on Thursday.
- The April rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point from March and is the lowest jobless rate since February 2009, when it was 8.6 percent.
- Illinois added 9,900 jobs in April but there still were 575,300 Illinoisans without jobs.
- The national unemployment rate for April was up slightly, to 9 percent.
IDES Acting Director Theresa Larkin says the long-term trend shows that the state's economy "continues to steadily improve." But she says the rate could fluctuate up and down as the recovery continues.
You might also be interested in NPR's series from reporter Tamara Keith about unemployment in St. Louis, "The Road Back To Work."