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Illinois unemployment rate steady after months of decreases, private-sector hiring slows

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CHICAGO — Illinois' unemployment rate held steady at 6.6 percent in October as private-sector hiring slowed, the state Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

Seven straight months of unemployment declines came to an end, the department said in its monthly unemployment report. But the agency noted that statewide unemployment has dropped from 9.1 percent in October 2013.

"After months of strong growth, private-sector job growth slowed somewhat, but it was a decline in government employment that led to October's decline in jobs," Jay Rowell, the department's direction, said in a news release.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in October.

According to the monthly jobless report, educational and health services companies led the month's job growth with a net increase of 4,600 jobs. The state's manufacturers also added jobs, a net 900 in all.

But several other sectors had net job losses. Information firms lost 1,500 jobs, financial activities companies were down 1,400, and professional and business services employers lost a total of 1,000 jobs.

The department said the number of people working or looking for work grew by 31,800 to 6,531,100. The number of unemployed people actively seeking work was 429,000.

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