The August 2012 unemployment rate in the Quad-Cities fell to 7.2 percent from 7.5 percent in August 2011 and was unchanged from a month ago, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

This is the seventh consecutive month the not seasonally adjusted rate has been equal to or below the year-ago level locally. The last time the August unemployment rate was equal to or lower was in 2008, when it was 5.3 percent.

The report provides a snapshot of the Quad-City metropolitan statistical area, which includes Rock Island, Mercer and Henry counties in Illinois and Scott County in Iowa.

The August local unemployment rate fell in 11 of the 12 metro areas compared with last year. Not seasonally adjusted data compares August 2012 to August 2011. The state rate has dropped every month this year.

“This economic cycle is filled with small up-and-down movements in the monthly data, and August shows falling unemployment rates in nearly every corner of our state,” department director Jay Rowell said. “While the uneven movements shadow the progress that we have made, stronger economic growth will occur when consumer confidence improves.”

Not seasonally adjusted data compares the current month with the same month of the previous year. The August 2012 not seasonally adjusted Illinois unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, and 12.3 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in August and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to receiving benefits.

In the Quad-Cities, non-farm employment increased from its 2011 level by 200. Manufacturing, up 1,000 jobs, recorded the largest job gain.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if actively seeking work.