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State’s unemployment claims skyrocket

More than 178,000 Illinoisans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, topping last week’s record of more than 114,000.

Nationwide, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the national economy.

While the unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in February in all 14 Illinois metropolitan areas and all 102 counties, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the department continues to receive an unprecedented number of unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19.

“This administration is fully committed to the health and safety of our workforce and ensuring our workers can provide for their families in this challenging time,” said Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes. “As we navigate this period of economic uncertainty, we will continue to champion policies that will lift up every Illinoisan while making investments that will help to strengthen our economy.”

Data also shows the number of nonfarm jobs decreased in nine Illinois metropolitan areas and increased in five. Illinois businesses added jobs in five metro areas, with the largest percentage increases in Kankakee (+2.2%, +1,000), Champaign-Urbana (+1.8%, +2,100) and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights (+1.0%, +37,500). Total nonfarm jobs were down in Rockford (-3.5%, -5,200), Peoria (-1.8%, -3,000) and Lake-Kenosha (-1.2%, -5,100). The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Education and Health Services (11 of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares February 2020 with February 2019. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 3.5 percent in February 2020 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February 2020 and 10.6 percent in January 2010, at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.

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