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County unemployment rate drops to 6.8 percent in October

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in October, down from 7.5 percent a year ago, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

October's 6.8 percent jobless rate is the lowest the county has seen all year and follows four consecutive months of declines. In September, the county's unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent during the same month in 2012. Unemployment figures for September were delayed by the 16-day partial federal government shutdown. Not seasonally adjusted data compare October 2013 to October 2012.

The jobless rate in Crystal Lake was 7 percent in October, down from 8 percent in October 2012, IDES spokesman Greg Rivara said.

Other jobless numbers showed Algonquin at 6.8 percent, down from 7.3 percent in October 2012; McHenry at 6.8 percent, down from 7.9 percent; and Lake in the Hills at 6.6 percent, down from 7.3 percent. Carpentersville’s unemployment rate was flat at 8.3 percent in October, the same as in 2012.

Kane County's unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in October, a decrease from 7.7 percent in October 2012.

The state Department of Employment Security said local unemployment rates were mixed across Illinois in October. Some of the increases were sharp, though.

The department said Thursday that rates fell in six metro areas, but increased in five and held steady in one.

Unemployment rose from 9.5 percent in October 2012 to 11.3 percent in Danville. In Decatur, the figure jumped from 10.1 percent to 11.7, and in Peoria, joblessness rose from 7.6 to 8.7 percent. Layoffs by heavy equipment-maker Caterpillar have affected Peoria and Decatur.

Unemployment in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area fell from 8.4 percent to 8.3 percent.

The department also released September figures delayed by the federal government shutdown. Jobless rates fell in six metro areas and increased in five. One was unchanged.

“Modest job growth continues across the state despite pockets of slow growth tied to a temporary weakness in the global manufacturing market,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a statement.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in October compared with 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7 percent in October and 10.6 percent at its peak in January 2010. The unemployment rate identifies people who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits. Historically, the state unemployment rate has been higher than the national rate, according to the release.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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