Illinois sees largest increase in new unemployment claims in the nation

Illinois sees largest increase in new unemployment claims in the nation

76,338 Illinoisans filed new unemployment claims during the week ending Oct. 31, up more than 23,000 from prior week.

New weekly initial unemployment claims rose more in Illinois than anywhere else in the nation for the week ending Oct. 31 compared to the prior week.

As all areas of Illinois begin implementing new COVID-19 mitigation measures and Gov. J.B. Pritzker begins restricting economic activity again, more than 76,338 Illinoisans filed new unemployment claims. That number is 23,200 more than the week ending Oct. 24.

Meanwhile, new unemployment claims slightly decreased nationwide (-543) as the rest of the nation’s economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 related downturn. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that during October the nation added 638,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate continued to decline to 6.9%.

While the national labor market has been steadily recovering since April, adding jobs and dropping the unemployment rate since then, Illinois’ recovery has begun to falter in recent months. Illinois’ September jobs report, which measured changes from mid-August to mid-September, revealed that Illinois saw the largest decline in jobs in the nation during the month. In the time since, Illinois has experienced rising unemployment claims in six out of the seven weeks, with 289,609 Illinoisans filing new unemployment claims during that time.

This data indicates the state has likely experienced further job declines, which will be revealed in the next monthly jobs report on Nov. 19. The combination of rising unemployment claims and declining payroll jobs indicates Illinois’ economy could be faltering again as Illinois implements new COVID-19 restrictions, even as the rest of the nation continues to recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and state-mandated lockdowns.

Luckily, Illinois voters rejected a $3 billion progressive income tax hike on Nov. 3, which would have raised taxes on more than 100,000 of the state’s largest job creators – small businesses. Economists argue against raising taxes during a recession, so lawmakers now must reject Pritzker’s call for a 20% income tax hike on everyone.

Instead, Illinois can improve its fiscal situation and continue to provide core services mainly by implementing constitutional pension reform. There is also the additional possibility of the state receiving federal aid by reforming state finances, if congress adopts the Taxpayer Protection Act.

Rather than just throwing more money into a black hole of pension debt and deficits, constitutional pension reform and the Taxpayer Protection Act would offer overburdened Illinois taxpayers a path to declining debt, lower taxes, more effective state government and a more sustainable recovery.

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