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updated: 3/7/2014 8:09 AM

Illinois unemployment rate 8.7 percent for January

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Associated Press

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in January, down from the previous month's revised rate of 8.9 percent.

The agency said Thursday that the state lost 27,600 jobs from December to January. Officials blame record-setting snow and cold for restricting construction growth. The retail sector was hurt by the end of holiday-driven sales.

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The falling unemployment rate and job losses seem to conflict. The agency says that's possible because employment figures come from individuals and job numbers come from employers.

Illinois' unemployment rate remains well above the national average of 6.6 percent.

January data is delayed a month and issued in March because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics requires states to revise monthly employment and labor force data.

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