CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois unemployment dipped below 9 percent for the first time in two years, falling to 8.9 percent in February.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the new figures Thursday that marked the 13th consecutive month of declining joblessness. There still were 588,500 Illinoisans without jobs in February.
January's unemployment rate was 9 percent in Illinois.
IDES Director Maureen O'Donnell says the state's economy is "steadily building momentum." She says the rate could fluctuate in coming months but it appears to be on a downward trend. The state unemployment rate peaked at 11.2 percent in January 2010.
The national February rate also was 8.9 percent.
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