Illinois unemployment claims approaching COVID-19 lockdown levels

Illinois unemployment claims approaching COVID-19 lockdown levels

New unemployment claims are rising in Illinois, hitting 142,745 last week as COVID-19 restrictions continue.

Requests for unemployment help were nearly 10 times what they were before COVID-19, hitting 142,745 during the week ending Dec. 12, according to federal data released Dec. 17.

Illinois has seen new claims rise since Tier 3 mitigation mandates were imposed Nov. 20, closing all indoor service at bars and restaurants as cold weather set in and made outdoor service difficult. Those actually receiving unemployment benefits stood at 336,515 for the week ending Dec. 5. Benefits numbers lag new claims numbers by a week.

The national number of new claims was up 23,000 to 885,000 for Dec. 12. Those receiving unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped 273,000 the week ending Dec. 5  to 5.5 million.

The last time Illinois saw unemployment claims at these levels was in April, when most of Illinois was locked down as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 mandates. The peak for initial unemployment claims was 202,157 for the week ending April 4.

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