Illinois' unemployment rate increased for the fifth consecutive month in March.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the state's unemployment rate increased from 6.4 percent in February to 6.5 percent in March, even though Illinois added a net 14,700 jobs last month.
Illinois had a higher unemployment rate in March than the national figure of 5 percent.
"According to IDES analysts, the unemployment rate is increasing in Illinois because of lagging job growth and more workers entering the labor force who are not immediately able to find work," the agency said in a news release.
The industry sector that added the most jobs in March was leisure and hospitality, which saw a 6,300 increase, followed by construction at 4,100 and financial activities at 3,200.
March job losses were the greatest in manufacturing along with professional and business services, which lost 3,100 and 1,400 positions, respectively.
"Unemployment in Illinois continues to rise as our state fails to keep pace with the rest of the country in job growth," Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy said in a statement. "Industries like manufacturing continue to struggle to regain jobs lost since 2008 - in March alone, 100 manufacturing jobs per day were lost; that's 100 middle-class families every single day facing the financial stress, hardship and uncertainty of losing a well-paying job. We need to take action on structural reforms that will make Illinois as competitive as it should be to curb the loss of middle-class jobs."
Some of the Rauner administration's proposed "structural reforms" seek to weaken unions, a move strongly opposed by Democrats in the legislature.