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Evanston jobless rate hits 8.4%

Evanston’s unemployment rate rose in June to 8.4 percent, up from 5.6 percent a year ago.

The rate was up sharply from 7.6 percent in May.

But the figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security show that Evanston’s employment picture was still among the best in the state. Of nearly 100 communities with over 25,000 residents included in the data, only 16 had jobless rates lower than Evanston’s last month, though that was up from 15 in May.

Many of the towns with the lowest unemployment rates — including Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Normal, and Urbana — like Evanston are communities with major universities that are less prone than other employers to shed workers during an economic downturn.

In the metro area, Buffalo Grove at 7.8 percent, Glenview at 8.0 percent, Gurnee at 8.0 percent, Highland Park at 5.6 percent and Northbrook and Wilmette at 7.3 percent were the only communities with unemployment levels lower than Evanston last month. The percentage increase in unemployment levels in those towns last month was roughly equivalent to the increase in Evanston.

Among other metro-area communities, the jobless rate was 8.6 percent in Oak Park and Arlington Heights, 9.4 percent in Skokie, 11.0 percent in Des Plaines, 12.1 percent in the City of Chicago and 11.5 percent in Waukegan.

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

The state jobless figures are not seasonally adjusted.

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