The state Department of Employment Security says Illinois unemployment rose to 9 percent in January.
That was up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012.
Department Director Jay Rowell blamed the uneven recovery the state has experienced since the recession.
The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.
The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.