CHICAGO -- November unemployment data shows Rockford still has the highest unemployment rate in the state, but it is dropping fast. The city's unemployment rate now stands at 10.5%, down from 11.8% from the same period one year ago.
The last time the November rate was equal to or lower was in 2008 when it was 9.4%. The city of Rockford saw it's rate drop from 13.7% to 12.1%. Belvidere went from 13.5% last year to 11.7% today. Freeport's rate stands at 10.4%, down from 11.5%.
Of the twelve metro areas where the Illinois Department of Employment Security tracks unemployment rates, eleven improved. Only the Decatur area saw an increase in unemployment, rising from 9.8% in November of 2011 to 10.2% in November of 2012. The statewide unemployment rate is now 8.2%.
"The trend of falling unemployment rates across Illinois shows that our economy continues to improve," IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a news release. "The largest challenge to local economic growth is the fiscal cliff. Economic progress could slow at every level and we risk another recession if Congress does not work together to craft a solution." That said, fears of the fiscal cliff have not slowed employment growth. November saw the fastest rate of job growth in Illinois for all of 2012.