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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.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a hazmat situation in North County.
Several homes in Black Jack have been evacuated. Authorities say a 5 gallon container, filled with an unknown liquid, was found in a garage. Electrical wires from the house were connected to the container. Bomb and arson crews remain on the scene.
Police are asking for help to find suspects accused of attacking a hot dog vendor in a Ferguson Home Depot with a hammer.
Police say the victim was standing at the front entrance around 3 PM when a group of shoplifters took his cell phone. The vendor chased them out of the store and that is when one of the suspects hit him in the head with a hammer.
The victim has serious injuries and is in the hospital.