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Illinois unemployment rate ticks up in August to 5 percent

The Illinois unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5 percent in August, with the state shedding 3,700 jobs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The 0.2-percentage-point increase in the state's unemployment rate reflects an economy lagging more robust national trends. The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 4.4 percent, according to the Labor Department.

"The Illinois economy is stuck in neutral with hardly any growth over the past several months," IDES Director Jeff Mays said in a news release. "As a result, this has caused the state to experience a rising unemployment rate over the past three months."

In addition, the state also revised its July job growth downward to show an increase of 600 new jobs rather than the previously reported 2,100.

The sectors showing the largest job growth in Illinois last month were: trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; and construction. The largest nonfarm payroll declines were in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and manufacturing.

The number of unemployed workers in the state increased 4.8 percent in August to 323,100 — the third consecutive monthly gain.

The 5 percent Illinois unemployment rate for August was down from 5.8 percent during the same month last year.

The unemployment rate identifies people who are out of work and actively seeking employment, regardless of whether they are receiving unemployment benefits.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @RobertChannick

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