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Our sorry state: 14.6 percent unemployment rate; 946,400 still collecting benefits

Thursday, Jul 16, 2020

* Oy

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the U.S., the Labor Department reported this morning that 1.3 million more Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, the 16th week in a row that the figure has topped one million. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had been expecting 1.5 million claims. The latest numbers reflect the continued strain on the economy caused by a pandemic wreaking havoc around the world. Almost 50 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits over the past 16 weeks, representing the biggest jobs loss in U.S. history.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.7 percentage point to 14.6 percent, while nonfarm payrolls added +142,800 jobs in June, a record monthly increase, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The May monthly change in payrolls was revised downward from the preliminary report, from +62,200 to +59,600 jobs. The May unemployment rate was revised upward from the preliminary report, from 15.2 percent to 15.3 percent.

The June payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the June payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

The state’s unemployment rate was +3.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for June, which was 11.1 percent, down -2.2 percentage points from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +10.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.0 percent.

In June, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+58,700), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+40,800) and Education and Health Services (+24,600). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Government (-19,000), Financial Activities (-1,700) and Mining (-800).

“Safely and deliberately reopening our economy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remains a top priority for the administration. Governor Pritzker’s recently announced mitigation plan to prevent a resurgence of cases in Illinois not only aims to keep residents safe and healthy, but to also ensure our economy can continue on its path to recovery,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “We remain committed to providing tools for recovery to working families and small businesses as we navigate through the state’s reopening plan.”

“Today’s report shows that while Illinois has started to see positive indicators of a turnaround in unemployment and a return in jobs, we still have more work to do,” said Michael Negron, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “To get our economy back on track, the Pritzker administration is redoubling our commitment to programs that will help residents, small businesses, and communities hit hardest by the economic burdens of COVID-19. While the duration of the crisis cannot be known, the State importantly continues to prioritize public health and mitigation of the virus that will help enable a faster economic recovery, and help more Illinoisans return to work.”

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -598,300 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-221,800), Professional and Business Services (-88,100) and Government (-69,000). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -9.8 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -8.6 percent over-the-year decline in June.

The number of unemployed workers fell from the prior month, a -2.1 percent decrease to 946,400 but was up +266.3 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up +2.9 percent over-the-month and +0.7 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.

221,800 leisure and hospitality jobs lost.

And while 946,400 people remain on unemployment here, Ohio, which has a similar population, has much less than half that: 429,638 continued claims.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pelonski - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:50 pm:

    This is one of the most painful things about this crisis. We can’t function properly as a country with this level of unemployment, but most of the actions we could take to reduce the number will likely lead to more deaths and illness. There simply is no good solution.

  2. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    Ohio has a Republican Governor who partners with the business community and has a 79% approval rating

  3. - Huh? - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:13 pm:

    “most of the actions we could take to reduce the number will likely lead to more deaths and illness.”

    How does wearing a mask lead to more illnesses and death? To beat the disease there must be constant and consistently use of masks by all.

    The covidiocy demonstrated by those who refuse to wear a mask are hurting the efforts to reduce the impact of covid19 and reopen the economy.

  4. - Fly like an eagle - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    A third of all Americans are delinquent in their housing payments, and are at risk up being evicted.

    The United States is in a unique position in that we can print money without doing much harm to the dollar’s value, since dollars are international currency, petrodollars. We really need to start sending people money to shore up our economy. If we don’t the situation will be dire. Let’s fire up those printing presses.

  5. - Pundent - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    =There simply is no good solution.=

    Sure there is. Look at what other countries are doing to put this behind them. We’re a first world country with a third world response.

  6. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    I’m one of those 946,xxx. My job isn’t coming back until the students do, and I suspect I’ll be back on layoff at some point between October 15 and Thanksgiving.

    One thought regarding Illinois vs. Ohio: how many of our job losses are tied to lost conventions and tourism in Chicago?

    I don’t work in the convention business, but it sure seems like Chicago gets a lot more of that than Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, Columbus, (pick whatever Ohio city you want to slam on).

    Also, airline travel down, so a lot fewer people getting pay checks from O’Hare or Midway.

    I know at one point Sysco was down by about 40%. That’s a lot of truck drivers and warehouse workers on part-time hours or layoff.

  7. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 1:51 pm:


    Roughly 321 million in U.S.

    Roughly 50 million on layoff at some point since January 1, 2020.

    So out of every 13 people you know, 2 have been laid off for some portion of time this year.

    If I were still working, I’d be stashing away every cent I could. How many others are thinking that way, with decreased spending gnawing away at the economic base?

  8. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    Honestly, I think we may just have to write tourism off during the pandemic and be glad we are not like Florida which is much more heavily tilted toward tourism. International transportation is also going to be a hard one, too, with most of the world considering us Infektionland.

    Maybe see if we can incent factories to build out or other businesses to expand to soak up the unemployed.

  9. - JoanP - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    But, but Ivanka says just go back to school and learn a new skill, and everything will be peachy keen!

  10. - Frank Manzo IV - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    The important thing to remember about this data is that it is from Phase 3. This release shows that we added back about 143,000 jobs as we moved from Phase 2 into Phase 3. The move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 should (hopefully!) show a significantly larger job gain as activities like indoor dining, nail salons, etc. were re-opened.

    Other states were opening up at the end of May and the beginning of June (too soon?), when this data was collected, while many activities were still closed in Illinois. Next month will begin to show the economic impacts of moving to Phase 4, while the following month is likely to show how states like Texas and Arizona are currently faring as cases and hospitalizations surge there.

  11. - Downstate - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    Missouri unemployment is nearly 1/2 that of Illinois.

  12. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Jul 16, 20 @ 6:54 pm:

    And what is Missouri’s positive test rate? How’s their R0, compared to ours?

  13. - Anony - Friday, Jul 17, 20 @ 6:35 am:

    Missouri’s death rate per 100k is 18
    Illinois’ is 58

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