Unemployment down in most Ill. metro areas in July

CHICAGO (AP) — Unemployment fell in seven of Illinois' 12 metro areas in July. But some of the increases were sharp and driven by manufacturing declines.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that unemployment dropped in areas that included Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and the Metro East near St. Louis. The last of those three saw a steep drop, from 9.6 percent in July 2012 to 8.6 percent.

But some areas dependent on manufacturing experienced large increases. Unemployment jumped from 8 percent to 9.4 percent in Peoria, where Caterpillar Inc. has its headquarters. The company has cut employees as demand drops. Some of those layoffs have been in Decatur, where unemployment rose to 13.2 percent from 11.3 in 2012.

Illinois had the second-highest July unemployment rate in the country at 9.2 percent.