Illinois jobless rate falls to 7.5 percent - FOX 35 News Orlando

Illinois jobless rate falls to 7.5 percent

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The state Department of Employment Security said that Illinois' unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in May. It was the third consecutive monthly decrease.

In DuPage County to hand out a series of state grants, Governor Pat Quinn opened by touting what he clearly regarded as Thursday’s biggest news: another decline in Illinois' stubbornly high unemployment rate.

“Matter of fact, it's at its lowest level since November, 2008. We're creating jobs in Illinois,” said Gov. Quinn.

While it is true that about 9,000 more Illinoisans found jobs last month, there's another factor. An even larger group -- 14,500 -- left the work force.

Also, a separate survey found that in the last 12 months, Illinois actually lost 11,400 manufacturing jobs, prompting a spokesman for the governor's Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, to make a statement.

"Illinois...still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Illinois isn't working under Pat Quinn," said Rauner’s spokesman.

Caterpillar recently announced it would close three Downstate plants and move 170 workers to Michigan. Michigan's jobless rate actually went up last month, and is now tied with Illinois at 7.5 percent.

The Quinn Administration pointed to employers such as United Gasket, a west suburban factory the governor visited last month. It's hired a handful of workers in recent weeks.

“Manufacturing is making a comeback. It's making a comeback in Illinois. It's making a comeback elsewhere. I think the real thing to focus on is, what are the policies that drive manufacturing growth," asked Adam Pollet, Director of the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. “And those policies are: great transportation, an incredibly talented and skilled work force, and low cost of energy. All of those are things that Illinois has in abundance.”

While Indiana's manufacturing jobs are growing far faster than in Illinois, Pollet said the Quinn Administration rejected Indiana's strategy of seeking to be the lowest cost location for business.

“We are not going to compete on bargain basement. That is not our competitive advantage,” added Pollet.

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