(KMOV) -- Unemployment has been down across the nation over the last few months.
In January and February of 2010, 9.7 percent of Americans were unemployed. In St. Louis, the unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent. Missouri's current rate is 5.9 percent, which is the lowest since June 2009.
On the other hand, the Illinois unemployment rate continues to rise. Overall, it stands at 11.3 percent, and that rates is even lower in the Metro-East.
While many like to think of the Bi-State area as one big region, there are some differences that are causing problems for job seekers in Illinois. Experts say it's one of the slowest job recoveries on record in an area that still hasn't recovered from losses at local steel mills.
Todd Solquet knows what it's like to be a statistic. The unemployed hospital worker drops by the Illinois workNet Center every week looking for job leads. "[I've] been looking for almost a year now. It'll be a year next month, and it's tough," he said.
Illinois jobless rates jumped in January for the 32nd straight month. In the Metro-East, it stands at 12.6 percent. That's nearly a 3 percent jump from over a year ago.
Dr. John Navin is an economist at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He believes state and local budget problems are hurting the Metro East. "School districts are starting to lay off people. We know that's going to affect them," he said. "We know the state's behind on their payments to social service agencies, which means they're cutting back on their employees."
Navin also said he doesn't expect the economy to rebound soon. He speculates it could take up to two years to recover.
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