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CHICAGO (AP) - State officials say unemployment in Illinois dropped in March to 8.4 percent. That's its lowest level since 2009.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that March unemployment was down from 8.7 percent in February. But the department noted that new-job creation was still down for the month by about 3,200 jobs. That's a drop of less than 1 percent.
Department Director Jay Rowell called the report a sign of "significant progress."
Illinois continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The federal government said earlier this month that the March unemployment rate for the nation was 6.7 percent.
Illinois' jobless rate hasn't been as low as 8.4 percent since January 2009.
Leisure and hospitality employers led March's improvement. They added a net 4,300 jobs.
CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois House committee has advanced a plan to devote $100 million in state funds to help bring President Barack Obama's presidential museum and library to Chicago.
The committee voted unanimously Thursday following a hearing in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among several officials who spoke in favor of the funding.
He says the money would return dividends "well beyond" $100 million. Emanuel also says the funding would be a fitting way to welcome Obama back to his hometown.
Several Chicago sites - most on the city's South Side - want to become home to the library and museum. Hawaii and New York also are vying for it.
A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the Legislature still must determine a source for the funding.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says all Americans are standing with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several religious leaders also attended the service Thursday at the Jewish Community Center.
Holder told the overflow crowd of more than 1,000 that every alleged hate crime, no matter the intended target, is an affront to the nation.
Avowed white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross is charged with capital murder and premeditated first-degree murder in the killings Sunday of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
Cross is also accused of killing Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement complex. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
St. Louis, MO -- Councilman Steve Stenger announced Thursday that he has received the St. Louis Labor Council's endorsement in the race for St. Louis County Executive.
The Labor Council is the umbrella organization representing over 50 individual unions in the St. Louis area.
There are currently 125,000 union members in the St. Louis area with the majority of them living in St. Louis County.
Along with the St. Louis Labor Council endorsement comes financial support and grass-roots outreach to it’s members. Stenger is challenging incumbent Charles Dooley.