By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — Unemployment in Jefferson County fell more than 2 percent from February to March.The March rate came in at 8.6 percent, down from 10.2 percent in February, and down slightly from March 2012, which was at 8.7 percent.Unemployment in every county surrounding Jefferson saw declines in the March unemployment rate. However, the rate in the state remained unchanged, coming in at 9.5 percent. "Illinois employers were expected to report fewer positions in March," said Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Jay Rowell. "Economic uncertainty nationally and abroad dampened our country's job growth. When that happens, Illinois' share tends to be a negative number. Monthly snapshots capture a moment in time. When those moments are evaluated together, we see progress away from a global recession and through a stubborn economic growth cycle marketed by volatile swings in monthly data here and across our country."The national unemployment rate in March was at 7.6 percent, down from 8.1 percent in February, and down from 8.4 percent posted a year ago.Two area counties are still seeing unemployment in the double-digits. Franklin County saw a 12.4 percent unemployment rate in March, down from 14.1 percent in February. The rate was higher than a year ago, when the county unemployment was at 11 percent.In Marion County, unemployment in March went to 11.7 percent, down from 13.5 percent posted in February, and up from the 10.8 percent rate of March 2012.Hamilton County had a 1 percent decrease in unemployment for March, which was at 8.9 percent, compared to 10.1 percent in February. The county was at 7.8 percent in March 2012.Wayne County unemployment was reported at 9.1 percent in March, down from 10.9 percent in Feburary, and up from 8.6 percent posted a year ago.The lowest rate for the area was in Washington County, which boasted a 7 percent unemployment rate, down from 8.3 percent in February, but up from 6.7 percent reported a year ago.