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Local News

More than 201,000 filed unemployment benefits claims last week in Illinois

A sign advertising for jobs sits along the roadside outside a FedEx location in Zionsville, Ind., on April 2. More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits the week of March 23, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of COVID-19.
A sign advertising for jobs sits along the roadside outside a FedEx location in Zionsville, Ind., on April 2. More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits the week of March 23, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of COVID-19.

The number of unemployment benefits claims filed in Illinois keeps on climbing from week to week in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to federal and state data.

According to Illinois Department of Employment Security data,
201,041 Illinois residents filed claims for unemployment benefits last week. That’s an increase of more than
22,600 claims from the previous week’s revised total of 178,421, amounting to a nearly 13% increase, according to state data.

That update comes after the U.S. Department of Labor reported more than 200,900 people filed for unemployment last week in Illinois.

According to federal data, 6.6 million workers nation-wide sought unemployment benefits last week. More than one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The national figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. By contrast, during the Great Recession it took 44 weeks – roughly 10 months – for unemployment claims to go as high as they now have in less than a month.

In the past three weeks, 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid. The surge of jobless claims has overwhelmed state unemployment offices around the country, with still more job cuts to be expected.

More than 20 million people may lose jobs this month. The unemployment rate could hit 15% when the April employment report is released in early May.

According to recently released state data, there were 293,948 unemployment claims filed last month – amounting to a more than 1,150% increase in total filed unemployment claims in March 2020 from February 2020 – within the Shaw Media Illinois coverage area. There were at least three-digit percentage increases in each of the 16 counties within the Shaw Media Illinois coverage area, including Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Whiteside and Will counties.

DuPage County saw the largest percentage increase – 1,460% – in filed unemployment claims in March from February out of the 16 counties, according to state unemployment data. There were 28,447 filed claims in March 2020 and 1,823 filed claims in February 2020.

Ogle County saw the smallest percentage increase – 297% – in filed unemployment claims in March from February. There were 1,393 filed claims last month and 351 filed claims in February 2020

All of the Shaw Media Illinois counties saw more filed unemployment claims in one month during March 2020 than in December 2008. There were 84,519 total unemployment claims in the 16 counties in December 2008, according to state unemployment data.

Rebecca Cisco, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, had said weekly state unemployment data is released at noon on Thursdays on the department’s website.

Cisco did not respond to a request for additional comment on Thursday from Shaw Media Illinois.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Monthly unemployment claims by county in Shaw Media Illinois Coverage Area

Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security

Bureau – 838 claims in March 2020, 107 claims in February 2020, 108 claims in March 2019, 563 in December 2008

Carroll – 383 claims in March 2020, 45 in February 2020, 37 in March 2019, 392 in December 2008

Cook – 176,953 claims in March 2020, 13,112 in February 2020, 15,547 in March 2019, 44,403 in December 2008

DeKalb – 3,156 claims in March 2020, 483 in February 2020, 292 in March 2019, 1,494 in December 2008

DuPage – 28,447 claims in March 2020, 1,823 in February 2020, 1,963 in March 2019, 6,495 in December 2008

Grundy – 1,792 claims in March 2020, 268 in February 2020, 251 in March 2019, 1,003 in December 2008

Kane – 15,880 claims in March 2020, 1,275 in February 2020, 1,379 in March 2019, 5,813 in December 2008

Kendall – 4,661 claims in March 2020, 381 in February 2020, 433 in March 2019, 1,159 in December 2008

Lake – 18,626 claims in March 2020, 1,471 in February 2020, 1,524 in March 2019, 6,896 in December 2008

La Salle – 3,924 claims in March 2020, 466 in February 2020, 539 in March 2019, 2,168 in December 2008

Lee – 885 claims in March 2020, 118 in February 2020, 134 in March 2019, 521 in December 2008

McHenry – 11,099 claims in March 2020, 910 in February 2020, 848 in March 2019, 3,735 in December 2008

Ogle – 1,393 claims in March 2020, 351 in February 2020, 179 in March 2019, 1,197 in December 2008

Putnam – 173 claims in March 2020, 34 in February 2020, 29 in March 2019, 141 in December 2008

Whiteside – 1,514 claims in March 2020, 138 in February 2020, 173 in March 2019, 698 in December 2008

Will – 24,224 claims in March 2020, 2,358 in February 2020, 2,614 in March 2019, 7,841 in December 2008

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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