December unemployment rates for Champaign-Urbana were down in December, compared with December 2011 rates, while Danville's jobless rate increased slightly, the state Department of Employment Security reported Friday.
In Champaign-Urbana, December payrolls increased the most in the state, up 2.6 percent, or 2,700 employees.
"Certainly, some of that is natural job growth," said Greg Rivara, the spokesman for the Department of Employment Security. But some of that increase can also be attributed to the fact that in December 2012, University of Illinois classes was still in session during the reporting period for the statistics. That always happens the week of the 12th of each month, Rivara said.
Classes were done for the semester by the week of Dec. 12 in 2011.
December 2012 unemployment in Champaign-Urbana was 7.4 percent. In December 2011, it was 8 percent. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.
In Danville last month, it was 10.4 percent, compared with 10.3 percent in December 2011.
Statewide, unemployment rates went down or were basically unchanged except in Decatur. Rivara attributed that increase to a temporary manufacturing layoff and said most of those employees are already back to work.
"If we were going to take Decatur out, you'd have falling unemployment rates in nearly every economic area," he said. "It continues that strong pattern of falling unemployment rates across the state."
Many areas in Illinois haven't seen such low unemployment rates since late 2008, he said.
"Certainly, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high," he said, "but the numbers show how much progress we have made."
The state's unemployment rate for December 2012 was 8.6 percent, compared with 9.3 percent in December 2011, according to the department.
The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.
"December marks another month that shows falling unemployment rates throughout our state," IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a news release. "The most pressing challenge to our economic progress is the uncertainty tied to Congress, the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff. Our economic recovery could be compromised if Congress is not seen as working together to build a solution."