CHICAGO — The state Department of Employment Security says unemployment dropped in all 12 Illinois metro areas in March. It's the first time that's happened since May 2011.
The department said Thursday in its monthly update on metro-area unemployment that the biggest decrease was in the Rockford area. The jobless rate fell in Rockford from 13.4 percent in March 2011 to 11.7 percent. Rockford still has the state's highest unemployment rate.
Kankakee-Bradley is another area with chronically high unemployment that saw its jobless rate drop sharply, from 13.1 percent to 11.6.
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville is the state's largest metro area. Joblessness fell there from 9.4 to 9 percent.
The department said earlier this month that the statewide unemployment rate fell in March from 9.1 to 8.8 percent. It was the seventh straight monthly decrease.