Illinois surpasses 1 million new unemployment claims

May 18, 2020

More than 1 in 5 Illinoisans are out of a job following two months of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order

PRESS RELEASE from the
ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE

MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Wittel (312) 607-4977

Illinois surpasses 1 million new unemployment claims
More than 1 in 5 Illinoisans are out of a job following two months of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order

CHICAGO (May 14, 2020) – The state’s unemployment rate spiked to 20.7% as more than 1 million Illinoisans claim they are out of work since the COVID-19 pandemic started shuttering Illinois businesses, according to Illinois Policy Institute analysis. That means more than 1 in 5 Illinoisans have lost their jobs in the past two months.

U.S. Department of Labor data shows an additional 72,993 Illinoisans filed for unemployment the week ending May 9, bringing the total new jobless claims to 1.02 million since COVID-19 containment measures began. Back in April, Institute experts estimated nearly 1.5 million Illinoisans’ jobs were at risk.

This number of jobless claims still excludes gig workers, independent contractors and freelancers, as those workers were finally allowed May 11 to start applying for unemployment in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is expected to release unemployment estimates for those workers next week.

Orphe Divounguy, chief economist at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:  

“This downturn is worse than the Great Recession, from which Illinois was one of the very last states to recover. The latest unemployment numbers show how much pain regular Illinoisans are feeling, and many of them will not be legally allowed to return to work for weeks.”

To read more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Illinois’ economy, visit: illin.is/covidjobless.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.