Unemployment numbers dip in Iowa, stay steady in Illinois

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in November thanks to holiday hiring and warm fall weather.

Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday that the rate fell from 4.1 percent in October as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 5,400 in November to about 65,000. The number of working residents also fell slightly.

Agency Director Beth Townsend credited holiday hiring and a delay in wintry weather that typically reduces employment.

The November rate is higher than Iowa's 3.5 percent unemployment rate in November 2015. It remains below the national rate of 4.6 percent.

In Illinois, officials say the state's unemployment rate in November remained at 5.6 percent.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 1,700 jobs last month. That's based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and IDES.

October figures were revised to show a growth in 3,400 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of 2,200.

Total jobs remain below the national average and Illinois is about 30,000 jobs short of its peak employment rate of September 2000.

IDES Director Jeff Mays says the biggest gains were in professional and business services with 37,000 jobs. The biggest losses were in manufacturing with about 9,000 fewer positions.

The number of unemployed workers increased 0.5 percent from October to 369,000.