More Illinoisans collect unemployment as nation recovers

More Illinoisans collect unemployment as nation recovers

Bans on indoor dining and bar service continue to hurt Illinois jobs numbers, placing the state low in a national recovery ranking.

Illinois’ employment was ranked as one of the nation’s slowest to recover from the COVID-19 economic downturn in a new survey by WalletHub.

Illinois was ranked 42nd, making it one of the states that recovered the least during the past week.

Requests for unemployment dropped by more than half in the week ended Jan. 2, but the bump in requests for help since indoor dining and bar service were banned meant nearly 16,000 more Illinois workers were receiving unemployment during the holidays. Initial claims for unemployment were multiple times higher than what they were before COVID-19, hitting 47,721 during the week ending Jan. 2.

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 rose by 15,899 to 343,543 for the week ending Dec. 26. Benefits numbers lag new claims numbers by a week.

The national number of new claims was down slightly to 787,000. Those receiving unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped 126,000 the week ending Dec. 26  to 5.1 million.

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