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Chicago Unemployment Rate Increases

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Unemployment in the Chicago region soared to its highest level in a quarter century in January. That’s according to new state numbers.

The Chicago area’s unemployment rate jumped to 11.6 percent in January. That’s lower than the statewide 12.2 percent, but it still surpassed the national average.

Greg Rivara is a spokesman with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

RIVARA: There might be reason for optimism, but we really need to get a couple of months’ more data that we can take a look at to have a better idea of where we are in this economic recovery.

The regional and state unemployment rates haven’t been this high since 1983. All told, the region lost nearly 150,000 jobs since January of last year. Illinois’ highest unemployment rate fell to Rockford, where one in five people were out of work in January.

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