Illinois posts historic drop in ongoing jobless claims

For the last six months, ongoing Illinois unemployment insurance claims have fallen to historically low levels, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

According to the most recent data, the agency said, Illinois has remained below the 70,000 claims threshold for an unprecedented 26 consecutive weeks, with 57,000 continued claims recorded the week of Oct. 31. 

Back in July, for example, IDES said the number of Illinoisans receiving ongoing unemployment benefit claims had hit an historic low since January 1987. Back then, Illinois had remained below the previously recorded low of 70,454 continued claims for 10 consecutive weeks, IDES reported.

Continued claims are the ongoing weekly unemployment benefit claims by workers who previously filed an initial claim. Most recent claims in July stood at 65,000.

IDES attributed the six months of record low unemployment claims to pandemic-related economic recovery and a stronger Illinois labor market. In particular,  IDES said, most recent data shows Illinois has seen payroll job growth for 16 consecutive months.

“This latest data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows great promise: our unemployment insurance claims are down and Illinoisans are getting back to work,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who was re-elected to the state’s top job Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

“As we continue to bounce back from the economic impacts of the pandemic, we are putting Illinois workers first,” he said in an IDES news release. “From our ‘Get Hired Illinois’ website to IDES’ resume and interview skill building workshops, we are mobilizing our resources to help our residents find good-paying jobs and advance their careers.”

In addition to providing unemployment insurance benefits, IDES provides access to a variety of training and employment services to jobseekers and employers to help individuals find the next step in their careers. 

In 2020, working with IDES and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the governor launched Get Hired Illinois, a one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine. There are currently more than 162,000 jobs posted on IJL from registered employers.

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