Bloomington Normal unemployment jumped to more than 8% last month. The Department of Employment Security says there were job declines in Professional and Business Services and in Government leading to 800 fewer jobs in the labor market than during February of 2012. The jobless rate increased more than half a point from the same time last year in the twin cities. Peoria's unemployment rate rose even faster to 10.4%, among the largest jumps in the state. Statewide, there was job growth in five large cities and declines in labor force in seven. Unemployment rose in ten of the 12 metro areas in the state. State officials say there were more people looking for work compared to the same time last year. But experts point to new signs of weakness in manufacturing and other areas. Only the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island area and St. Louis' Metro East suburbs had slight decreases. The department said last week that February statewide unemployment rose to 9.5 percent. Decatur had the state's highest jobless rate. It spiked from 10.9 percent in February 2012 to 13.7 percent. The Rockford area rate jumped from 13 percent to 13.4. The Peoria unemployment rate went from 9% to 10.4%.
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