Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent. And state officials are blaming the continuing struggles of the national economy and weak consumer confidence.
Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford and WBEZ's Sam Hudzik was used in this story.
Gov. Pat Quinn says he will need to lay off 1,900 state employees and close seven state facilities to live within a budget sent to him by the General Assembly.
"Decisions made by members of the General Assembly I may or may not agree with, but once they have adopted their budget, it is now the law of our state," Quinn told reporters in Chicago today. "We have to implement this in a responsible manner."
Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.
About a dozen Illinois state lawmakers are headed to Cuba this week for what's being called a trade mission.
Representative Jack Franks says the visit could boost state exports to Cuba. The Democrat from Woodstock will be leading the week-long trip. It's been 12 years since former Governor George Ryan traveled to Cuba in a high profile effort to build a new market for Illinois' farm economy. Franks says trade with Cuba has fallen off since then.