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Evanston’s jobless rate jumped in January to its highest level in the past six months.

Figures released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security show that 7.4 percent of Evanston’s workforce was unemployed in January. That’s up from 6.5 percent in December and 6.7 percent in January 2012.

The labor force in January shrank by 270 people to 41,335. And the number of people looking for work increased by 326 to 3,047.

The jobless rate for the Chicago metro area rose even more, from 8.7 percent in December to 10.0 percent in January. The statewide rate also rose, from 8.6 to 10.1 percent.

Nineteen of the nearly 100 towns in Illinois with more than 25,000 residents had lower unemployment rates than Evanston in January. That number was unchanged from December.

Wilmette had the lowest jobless rate, 5.9 percent. Glenview was at 6.4 percent, Glen Ellyn at 6.5 percent and Highland Park at 6.6 percent.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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