SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The unemployment rate in Illinois continues to gradually decrease while job growth continues, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced on Thursday.

The IDES said that in January, the unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a percentage point, dropping down to 4.5%. Nonfarm payroll jobs, meanwhile, increased by over 14,000.

These numbers are based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Today’s data is an encouraging start to the new year as Illinois’ recovery continues to trend in the right direction statewide,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “IDES remains committed to assisting jobseekers and employers with the resources they need to find new, expanded opportunities to participate in the state’s labor market.”

The data shows that government was the industry sector that saw the largest job growth, with 7,900 jobs added. Government was followed by the leisure and hospitality (6,300) and Educational and Health Services (1,900) industries.

Industries that saw decreases in employment include information (-900), professional and business services (-900), trade, transportation and utilities (-500) and other services (-500).

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm jobs increased by almost 164,000 with gains across all industries. The largest increases were in leisure and hospitality (44,700), educational and health services (38,100), and trade, transportation and utilities (24,000). The unemployment rate is also down 0.3 percentage points from one year ago.

““While working to bolster economic development across the state, Illinois continues to make steady progress with decreased unemployment rates and increased job growth,” said Kristin Richards Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “DCEO will remain a steadfast partner for Illinoisans by investing in workforce development while attracting and retaining the businesses that fuel our state’s economy.”