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Unemployment claims in Illinois are 12 times higher than a year ago

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ILLINOIS (WEEK) -- Between March 1 and April 16, the Illinois Department of Employment Security says they've processed 755,000 unemployment claims.

Those are all people who are asking for state help for the first time. IDES says most of those claims came in the last three weeks, after Gov. JB Pritzker issued the statewide "stay at home" order.

The 755,000 claims filed in that six-week timeframe are 12 times the number of claims IDES saw in that same time last year.

This week, IDES says they also rolled out the "Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or "FPEUC," which provides up to 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits to people who have already exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits.

Illinois' labor force is also shrinking, according to IDES, as statewide data is now starting to reflect the impact of COVID-19.

12 metropolitan areas in Illinois are reporting lower numbers of total non-farm jobs.

Jobs in Peoria are down 2.5%, or 4,300, from March 2019. That's the second-largest drop in the state.

Bloomington saw a 1.6% drop in total non-farm jobs.

Rockford had the highest decrease, with 6,000 fewer jobs in the month of March.

It was March 16 when the governor issued an executive order closing all bars and restaurants in the state, and March 21 when he issued the stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across in Illinois.

On March 1, there were just three cases of COVID-19 in the state.

By April 1, that number had risen to 986 positive cases statewide.

As of April 23, there have been 36,934 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. 1,688 people have died.

Sheridan Swathwood

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