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Jobless rate drops in 9 Illinois metro areas

CHICAGO (AP) -- The unemployment rate fell in nine Illinois metro areas during February and increased in one, compared with a year earlier.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that the largest decline was in Rockford, where the rate fell 1.3 points to 12.8 percent.

The rate dropped 1 point to 9 percent in Peoria and by 0.8 to 12.9 percent in Kankakee.

Unemployment in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area dropped from 9.6 percent to 8.9 percent. The Illinois suburbs of St. Louis saw a slight increase, from 10.2 percent to 10.5 percent.

The non-seasonally adjusted rate for the state in February was 9.4 percent, down from a peak of 12.3 percent in January 2010.

Nationally, the rate was 8.7 percent in February, down from a January 2010 peak of 10.6 percent.