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updated: 3/21/2014 7:16 AM

Illinois jobless rate holds steady at 8.7 percent

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Associated Press

Unemployment held steady across Illinois in February at 8.7 percent, the state Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The statewide jobless rate was unchanged from January but remained well above the 6.7 percent national rate announced earlier this month by the federal government. Illinois has one of the highest jobless rates among U.S. states.

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Illinois nonetheless added a net 6,400 jobs in February, the department said. That's an improvement from January when the state lost jobs.

"February's job numbers shows that our economy continues to improve. The snapshot is another positive piece in the long-term trend of economic growth building in Illinois," department Director Jay Rowell said. "It also reminds us that more is needed and expected because that economic success has yet to return to every household."

Companies in the professional and business services sector added 10,400 jobs in February, and leisure and hospitality employers added 4,000 jobs. But firms in trade, transportation and utilities cut 6,100 jobs.

Manufacturing companies continued their decline in January by dropping a net 1,100 jobs.

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