Unemployment drops in Illinois - FOX 32 News Chicago

Unemployment drops in Illinois

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The state Department of Employment Security says Illinois unemployment fell in July to 6.8 percent. It was the fifth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate.

The new employment numbers included, finally, a gain in manufacturing -- though total jobs there remain lower than a year ago.

It prompted Governor Pat Quinn to try to rewrite what has been the established narrative about the State's troubled economy as he seeks another 4-year lease in the Executive Mansion.

"Unemployment's fallen from 9.2 percent last year to 6.8 percent. It's the steepest decline since the 1980s. Last month employers created 11,200 jobs," Quinn said.

Candidate for Governor Bruce Rauner, though, said, "There's a lot of bull as Pat Quinn talks about his failed record on jobs, taxes and education."

As Republican nominee Rauner campaigned at the State Fair, his spokesman issued a written statement about the new employment numbers.

"Our state is still down thousands of jobs since the beginning of the year, we still have one of the worst unemployment rates in the entire country and thousands of Illinoisans have given up looking for work," the statement read.

Rauner and his campaign attracted the largest crowd for Republican Day in several years. They used dramatic stagecraft to do it. Rauner arrived at the Fair on a motorcycle, as he did last year, though wearing a safety helmet this time.

Gov Quinn accused Rauner of ducking debates. A spokesman said the Republican would soon announce a list of debates he's agreed to do.

Department Director Jay Rowell said the falling jobless rate "seems to be picking up momentum with the warmer weather."

The federal government said earlier this month that national unemployment rate edged up to 6.2 percent in July.

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