November local unemployment rates fell in 11 of 12 metro areas in Illinois compared to last year, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Not seasonally adjusted data compares November 2012 to November 2011. The largest declines were in: Rockford (-1.3 points to 10.5 percent), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (-1.2 points to 8.3 percent), and Kankakee-Bradley (-1.1 points to 10.0 percent).

Payrolls increased in six metros and declined in six. The largest increases: Springfield (+1.2 percent, +1,300), Lake-Kenosha (+1.1 percent, +4,100), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+0.9 percent, +33,700 jobs), and Kankakee-Bradley (+0.9 percent, +400). Industry sectors increasing in the most metros were Leisure and Hospitality (11 of 12) and Manufacturing (10 of 12).

"The trend of falling unemployment rates across Illinois shows that our economy continues to improve," IDES Director Jay Rowell said. "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."

Not seasonally adjusted data compares the current month to the same month of the previous year. The November 2012 not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 8.2 percent and 12.3 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in November and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

Peoria MSA: The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November 2012 from 8.0 percent in November 2011. The last time the November rate was lower was in 2008 when it was 5.5 percent. This was the 30th consecutive month the rate has been equal to or below the year-ago level.

Non-farm payroll employment decreased -100. The largest gains occurred in Educational-Health Services (+900) and Leisure-Hospitality (+400). Professional-Business Services was down -1,000.