Evanston’s jobless rate fell to its lowest level in February since September of 2015, falling to 4.1 percent from 4.6 percent in January.

Figures from the Illinois Department of Employment Security show the rate now is down from 5.2 percent a year ago and from the 2016 average of 4.9 percent.

Evanston’s labor force grew by 82 workers in February, with 272 more people working and 190 fewer people looking for work.

The metro Chicago jobless rate was 5.3 percent in February, down from 6.0 percent in January and from 6.5 percent a year earlier.

Statewide the jobless rate was 5.5 percent in February, down from 6.5 percent in January and from 6.6 percent a year earlier.

Twenty-three of the 107 Illinois communities with more than 25,000 residents had jobless rates lower than Evanston’s in February.

Wilmette was lowest at 3.4 percent. Arlington Heights, Glenview, Naperville and Oak Park were among eight communities at 3.7 percent. Skokie was tied with Evanston at 4.1 percent.

The highest unemployment rate in Illinois in February was 13.5 percent in Belvidere. Rockford and Round Lake Beach were tied at 10.4 percent.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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