Illinois added 3,800 jobs in January, and the state unemployment rate fell for the fifth straight month to 9.4 percent.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the 0.3 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate was the largest decline since September 1992.
The agency says the number of unemployed people dropped by 18,100 in January to 620,300.
Illinois has added 122,900 private sector jobs since January 2010, the first month that numbers increased after 23 consecutive months of declines. The state unemployment rate peaked that month at 11.4 percent.
The leading growth industries since then have included professional and business services, educational and health services and manufacturing.
Government has lost the most jobs since January 2010 with 24,700.
The national unemployment rate for January was 8.3 percent.