FILE - Job fair

Job seekers line up for a job fair.

The unemployment rate in Illinois has dropped to a historic low, but remains slightly higher than the national unemployment rate. 

Illinois' unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in September, according to preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

That's the lowest unemployment rate on record in Illinois. This is the second consecutive month of record-setting unemployment in the state.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the latest nonfarm payroll numbers on Friday.

The number of unemployed workers dropped 2.5 percent from the prior month, falling to 255,900. Over the past year, the number of unemployed workers has declined by 6.5 percent. 

Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesman Sam Salustro says job creation has been big across the state.

“If you look at our numbers compared to last year, we’ve actually grown jobs by 66,000,” he said. Salustro called September's job growth “modest.” The number of nonfarm jobs statewide for September increased by 4,800.

Job growth was the strongest in September in the trade, transportation and utilities job sectors.

Salustro said the continuous job growth and low unemployment means the state’s economy continues to be strong.

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Erin Guthrie praised Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration for the low unemployment.

“Governor Pritzker remains committed to creating an environment where both businesses and working people can thrive,” she said in a statement.  

The national unemployment rate in September was 3.5 percent.

Compared to a year ago, the Illinois unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points, down from 4.2 percent in September 2018.

The unemployment rate measures those who are out of work and are seeking to find a job. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said a person who exhausts or is ineligible for unemployment benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they are actively trying to find a job.

Staff Reporter

A Chicago area radio news veteran, Jim Moran covers statewide issues for The Center Square. Previously, he has worked as a news reporter/anchor and traffic reporter for numerous radio stations across Illinois and the St. Louis metro area.