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Illinois’ Real-Time Unemployment Rate is Second Highest Among Border States

Nearly 1 in 4 Illinoisans now find themselves out of work
CHICAGO (May 28, 2020) – Illinois’ real-time unemployment rate exceeds all of its bordering states except Kentucky. According to analysis from the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, the state’s real-time unemployment rate is now at 23.1%. That’s 43% higher than Missouri’s real-time unemployment rate of 16.1%, which is the lowest among border states.

Illinois’ estimated unemployment rate of 23.1% is also higher than Iowa (16.2%), Wisconsin (20.7%) and Indiana (22.8%). Only Kentucky, with an estimated unemployment rate of 32.8%, surpasses Illinois.

U.S. Department of Labor data show 58,359 Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the week ending May 23, bringing the total new jobless claims to 1.15 million since COVID-19 started impacting Illinois’ economy. Nearly 1 in 4 Illinoisans have lost their jobs in the past two months.

Orphe Divounguy, chief economist at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:  

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country, and we’re seeing that reflected in Illinois’ real-time unemployment rate, which now tops 23% and is second highest among border states.

“While phases to reopen are a step in the right direction, the majority of Illinois businesses are still being left behind. When most employers have less than two months of cash on hand, Pritzker should follow other states’ leads and commit to a plan that balances public health with the risk of mass business failures.”

To read more about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinois’ jobs, visit:


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