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Unemployment rate falls again in Illinois

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* NPR

Unemployment fell slightly in Illinois last month. The July rate of 4.4 percent was down one tenth of a percent from June, which saw the lowest mark since the onset of the pandemic.

Compared to the rate a year ago — 6.2 percent — it shows the economy continues to rebound.

The industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment include: Professional and Business Services (+10,000), Manufacturing (+6,300), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+5,700). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines include: Construction (-1,400) and Educational and Health Services (-1,400).

Illinois’ unemployment rate still lags behind the national average of 3.5 percent by nearly a full percentage point.

* Press Release

“As the statewide unemployment rate continues to drop and continued claims levels for unemployment benefits remain at historic lows, IDES encourages employers and jobseekers to utilize the Department’s robust employment services tools for reentry into the workforce,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “Whether it be participating in or a hosting a job fair, training or skills building, IDES has the tools needed to assist in the growth of the expanding labor market.”

“After Illinois reached the lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the pandemic in June, it’s encouraging to see the state’s unemployment rate continue to drop while seeing continued growth in key industries,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Looking ahead, DCEO continues to focus on expanding equitable workforce training opportunities, providing incentives to companies who invest in Illinois’ workforce, and providing resources and training opportunities for job seekers.” […]

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a -1.1 percent decrease to 287,200 and was down -27.1 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was almost unchanged (0.0 percent) over-the-month and up +2.2 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

* On Thursday a new report from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs showed potential reasons why the unemployment trust fund in Illinois has a large deficit…

A new analysis explores the connection between Illinois’ high unemployment rate, market disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequences for Illinois’ unemployment trust fund. […]

Illinois’ pay-as-you-go financing practices have resulted in low trust fund balances, prevented the accumulation of additional reserves during good years, and increased the likelihood of deficits during economic downturns,” said Merriman, who co-leads IGPA’s Fiscal and Economic Working Group. “While dramatic increases in the unemployment rate brought about by a pandemic may be beyond state policymakers’ control, some actions could be taken to diminish the chances of large future UI trust fund deficits.”

Illinois policymakers should thoroughly evaluate the flow of revenues into the UI trust fund and payouts from the fund, especially during the pandemic, the IGPA analysis recommends. Further, they should determine the reasons for and extent of declines in revenues, and similarly, the reasons for and extent of increases in benefit payouts.

Illinois also should formally evaluate the benefits and costs of replacing its pay-as-you-go UI funding system with a forward-funding approach. Such an approach would require higher employer taxes during economic booms but would allow tax-rate stability or even tax cuts during economic downturns. Illinois still has federal relief funds, and these funds could be used to pay the UI debt accumulated in the past or be spent on current investments to make up for earlier deficits. The first option may largely benefit employers by avoiding increased federal payroll taxes. The second potentially distributes future benefits to more people in the form of better infrastructure or services.

posted by Isabel Miller
Friday, Aug 19, 22 @ 12:26 pm

Comments

  1. Alaska, New Mexico, and Delaware are quite jealous.

    Comment by City Zen Friday, Aug 19, 22 @ 12:32 pm

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