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Jobless Rates Drop Again >

Cautious optimism is the word from Illinois officials as the state’s  unemployment rate fell in May. It’s the fourth consecutive drop this year.

According to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Iroquois, Ford and Livingston county numbers all dropped.  IDES spokesman Greg Rivara says “it’s not surprising when you look at the trend, (which) has shown steady, consistent improvements.”

Statewide, the year-over-year unemployment rate has fallen every month of 2012. Illinois’ jobless rate for May was 8.4 percent.

McLean County had no change in its overall number of non-farm jobs, which totaled 91,400 in May. Job declines occurred in retail, which lost 400 jobs. Meanwhile, the government sector added 400 jobs and the leisure and hospitality sector added 300 jobs.

Rivara said the monthly fluctuations for jobs within specific industries such as retail could be a result of various factors, including the end of the school year. The increase in jobs in leisure and hospitality is indicative of graduations that took place at area schools, he added.

Other Central Illinois counties and their May (May 2011) rates are: DeWitt, 7.1 percent (7.6 percent); Ford, 7.5 percent (8.5 percent); Iroquois, 7.2 percent (7.9 percent); LaSalle, 9.8 percent (10.1 percent); Livingston, 7.2 percent (8.1 percent); Logan, 7.1 percent (7.2 percent); Tazewell, 6.6 percent (7.1 percent); and Woodford 5.8 percent (6.4 percent).