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.
Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent while the state's overall payroll increased by thousands of jobs.
The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 21,100 jobs in January. Officials reported that Missouri had a net of loss of 11,800 jobs in December and a loss of 3,300 jobs in November.
Besides expanding payrolls for the first time in three months, Missouri's unemployment rate in January dropped by half a point to 7.5 percent. That is Missouri's lowest jobless rate since November 2008.
Casaundra Bronner, of Hazelwood, Mo., worked in marketing before being laid off in March 2010. She found a job again in March 2011 but is still uninsured and having trouble getting the health care she needs.
Credit Whitney Curtis for NPR
Randy Howland, of St. Louis, lost his job in September 2009. He has found work again, but he still doesn't have insurance and has had seizures in the past. He pays for medication out of pocket, but doesn't get all the regular testing his doctors recommend.
Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday that changes to the interstate, such as widening it to six lanes, could create construction jobs and make the state more economically competitive. Keith said such improvements could cost as much as $4 billion.
Private companies would finance the project up front and collect tolls on I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is pushing his jobs creation strategy as the path to improving the state's economy this year.
Speaking at Jost Chemical Co. in St. Louis Friday, Nixon detailed his multi-pronged proposal which includes opening state export offices in Asia and South America and funding training for high-tech jobs.
"We'll work to make sure we attract next-generation automotive suppliers to Missouri," said Nixon.
Missouri's unemployment rate declined last month to its lowest point in more than 2 1/2 years.
The state Department of Economic Development said Tuesday that Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in October - down two-tenths of a percentage point from September. It was the lowest mark since an 8.4 percent rate in February 2009.
Missouri's unemployment rate also was better than the national average of 9 percent in October.
Unemployment in Illinois rose in September for a fifth straight month and hit 10 percent for the first time since August 2010.
The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday blamed continued weakness in consumer confidence across the country for the increase. The federal government earlier this month said national unemployment for September was 9.1 percent. That was unchanged from August. The state rate was 9.9 percent in August.