Evanston’s unemployment rate fell in July to 7.7 percent, but was still up from 5.7 percent a year ago.

The rate declined nearly three-quarters of a percentage point last month, from 8.4 percent in June.

The figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security show that Evanston’s employment picture relative to other communities improved substantially last month.

In June, 16 of the state’s nearly 100 communities with over 25,000 residents had jobless rates lower than Evanston. Last month that number declined to six.

The communities with lower rates than Evanston were Glenview at 7.5 percent, Northbrook at 7.0 percent, Normal at 6.8 percent, Wilmette at 6.7 percent, Carbondale at 6.1 percent and Highland Park at 5.9 percent.

Among other metro-area communities, the jobless rate was 8.1 percent in Oak Park, 8.3 percent in Arlington Heights, 9.0 percent in Skokie, 10.5 percent in Des Plaines, 11.5 percent in the City of Chicago and 12.3 percent in Waukegan. Except for Waukegan, those numbers were also down from June levels.

Statewide the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent last month, up slightly from 10.3 percent in June. The rate for the Chicago metro area was unchanged at 10.5 percent.

Evanston’s jobless rate for all of 2008 averaged 4.7 percent.

The individual community jobless figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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