Illinois' unemployment spiked for a second straight month in February, hitting 9.5%. But state officials say the increase is at least in part to increasing numbers of people who have started looking for work again. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said the rate sharply rose to 9.5% in February from 9% in January. National unemployment fell to 7.7% in February. Department Director Jay Rowell said recent job growth appears to have given unemployed people who had given up job searches reason to head back out again. Rowell pointed to the fact that the state added a net 12,400 jobs in February. The biggest gains were the addition of 7,900 jobs in the professional and business services sector and 2,500 construction jobs.
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