Unemployment up slightly in Illinois in February

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ unemployment rate slightly increased in February to 6.4 percent. It was the fourth straight monthly increase.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that the number of people employed across the state increased by 18,100 people. But state officials said that as more people seek jobs Illinois’ economy is not creating enough positions. Unemployment was up from 6.3 percent in January.

Illinois Department of Commerce Director Jim Schultz said that improvements in the national economy are motivating more long-term unemployed people to look for work.

The federal government said earlier this month that the national unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in February.

The largest job gains last month were the 6,600 jobs added by the professional and business services sector. Construction firms reduced employment by 2,400 jobs.