Illinois shed 762,200 jobs in April, 12.5 times greater than worst month on record

Illinois shed 762,200 jobs in April, 12.5 times greater than worst month on record

Record job losses hit the state during the first full month of COVID-19 economic fallout.

Illinois lost 762,200 jobs from mid-March through mid-April, the largest monthly jobs loss in state history, new data shows.

March jobs figures were also revised to show jobs decline of 60,900 jobs instead of the 34,100 originally reported. That is the second largest monthly decline for Illinois in recorded history, according to the preliminary data released May 21 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Leading the declines was the leisure and hospitality jobs sector, with 50% of the jobs lost. Many of those businesses were ordered to close under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, costing that sector 295,300 positions.

All sectors of the economy have experienced job loss since the onset of COVID-19 related fallout. Total non-farm payrolls throughout the state have now fallen to their lowest levels since 1993.

The large decline in payrolls has also sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing. The current estimated real-time unemployment rate is now above 24%. However, this is likely an underrepresentation, as it does not include those who have stopped looking for work altogether during this crisis. When you add those who have dropped out of the labor force into the equation – many of whom are likely not being counted due to mismanagement of the unemployment application system – the estimated unemployment rate would have been nearly 27%.

Illinois families cannot afford to be out of work for an extended period of time. Many are still waiting to have their unemployment claims processed and have little to no savings to feed themselves or cover other expenses. Other countries and other U.S. states are beginning to phase in the re-opening of their economies.

Business and consumer confidence are a cheap form of stimulus. Pritzker now has an outline of a plan, but Illinoisans need more detail for it to provide the certainty needed to make economic decisions.

State lawmakers need to do their part to minimize uncertainty by voting to remove the progressive income tax from the Nov. 3 ballot, which they can do by supporting House Joint Resolution 123. If passed, that tax hike will hit more than 100,000 small businesses – the state’s most prolific job creators – just as they are trying to recover from the COVID-19 recession.

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