State Unemployment Swells Under Stay At Home Order

By Benjamin Cox on April 17, 2020 at 10:46am

The State of Illinois is seeing a record swell of unemployment that has never been seen before. The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced that over 141,000 Illinois residents filed initial unemployment claims last week. The number brings the total to 634,000 claims over the last 4 weeks. About 60,000 fewer initial claims were made last week than were made the week prior, bringing the four-week moving average to 158,656.

Since March 1st, the state processed 12 times the number of claims it did in the same span last year and 5 times more than it did during the first six weeks of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Nationally, 5.25 million people made initial claims last week. The national advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate from the U.S. Department of Labor was at 8.2%, the highest percentage ever in the history of the recorded rate. The previous record high was 7% in May 1975. For the month of February, unemployment rates were averaging 3.54% in West Central Illinois. March numbers for the region have not been released, but have likely grown.

Illinois currently doesn’t have a system in place for independent contractors or those who are self-employed to file for unemployment claims despite a new federal law which allows for such claims. Governor J.B. Pritzker said Monday that the services are not anticipated to be fully implemented until the week of May 11th.

The federal government also announced yesterday that the funding for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses had run out of money, which may cause more layoffs in the coming weeks.

Pritzker said yesterday that he is currently working with 6 other governors in the Midwest on plans to reopen the economy. He said the regional effort would likely phase in businesses going back to work over an indefinite period of time.