Evanston's unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December, down from 7.3 percent in November. But the decline came in part from jobless workers giving up on their search for new employment.
One-hundred-fifty-three more residents had jobs in December, but 283 fewer people were looking for work — so the total size of the Evanston workforce declined by 132 people.
Data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows the city's labor force, at 42,196 workers in December, is still slightly larger than the 41,930 in the workforce at the start of the year.
A year ago, in December 2011, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent — just a shade lower than it is now.
The unemployment rate for the Chicago metro area was 9.3 percent in December, down from 9.6 percent in November, and up from 8.8 percent a year ago.
The statewide jobless rate in December was also 9.3 percent, down slightly from 9.4 percent in November and up from 8.8 percent a year ago.
Thirteen of the nearly 100 towns in Illinois with more than 25,000 residents had lower jobless numbers than Evanston in December. The lowest rate, 5.7 percent, was in Wilmette. Other nearby towns with lower rates included Highland Park at 5.9 percent and Northbrook and Glenview, both at 6.0 percent.