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.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's unemployment rate edged up slightly even though businesses added thousands of jobs in June.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development said Tuesday that employer payrolls grew by 12,800 jobs in June, compared with the previous month.
Despite that growth, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also inched up by one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.9 percent in June.
The largest job growth occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 5,400 jobs. An additional 4,700 jobs were added in retail and wholesale trade, and 2,000 jobs were added in durable goods manufacturing.
Unemployment is trending down in the St. Louis area.
The unemployment rate in the metro area sits at 7% in May--that is down from the level last year. The local unemployment rate is also lower than the national level of 7.3 percent.
The St. Louis workforce now sits just a bit above 1.3 million.
The jobless rates in Missouri and Illinois are moving in opposite directions.
Despite adding 4,600 jobs in May, Missouri's rate climbed to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent in April. For the first time in several months, the government sector added jobs.
In Illinois, the unemployment rate fell in May to 9.1 percent. It was the second straight monthly drop after a series of increases earlier this year. State officials says that May's decrease was due in part to gains in construction employment.
Illinois' jobless rate still remains much higher than the 7.6 nationwide unemployment rate for May that was reported earlier this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Legislation awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon seeks to comply with federal mandates for Missouri's unemployment benefits system.
The measure also could make it more difficult for workers to receive jobless benefits if they are let go after an unapproved absence or if they knowingly violate a company rule.
The legislation would broaden the definition of what constitutes "misconduct." Jobless benefits can be denied to workers who lose their position because of misbehavior.
The unemployment legislation also includes changes aimed at complying with requirements from the federal government. Failing to comply could cost employers more than $800 million in federal tax credits while state government could lose a couple hundred million dollars for programs.
Lawmakers gave the legislation final approval before adjourning last week.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People fired for missing work and not following company rules could have a harder time claiming unemployment benefits under a bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.
The House voted 98-57 to pass the measure Wednesday. The Senate passed the same bill in February.
Fired workers who engaged in "misconduct" at the workplace can be denied benefits under current law. But the legislation expands the definition of "misconduct" to include chronic absenteeism and "knowing" violations of an employer's rules. The current standard requires "willful disregard" of an employer's regulations.
Supporters say many workers fired for reasons such as sleeping on the job are allowed to collect benefits under the current system. Opponents say the measure could deny benefits to people fired wrongly.
The jobless rate dropped to 7.7 percent last month, the lowest level since President Barack Obama has been in office. Still, White House economist Alan Krueger notes that the new unemployment rate was measured before $85 billion in automatic budget cuts started taking effect.
The administration has warned that the cuts could have a negative impact on employment and economic growth.
That was up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012.
Department Director Jay Rowell blamed the uneven recovery the state has experienced since the recession.
The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.
The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.
January's rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 6.6 percent--which is the lower level in over four years.
A spokesperson for the Department of Economic Development says that Missouri's rate has been below the national average for 41 months. The national rate sits at 7.9 percent now.
The Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a measure expanding the definition of "misconduct" in the workplace. The change would make it harder for people to qualify for unemployment insurance after they are fired. Supporters say the bill will protect businesses from liability and give them more freedom to fire employees who misbehave at work. The legislation is sponsored by Republican Sen. Will Kraus, of Lee's Summit. It needs one more affirmative vote in the Senate before moving to the House.