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Illinois Unemployment Skyrockets To Record High Of 16.4% With 1 Million People Out Of Work

The state's unemployment rate was 1.7 percent higher than the national unemployment rate.

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CHICAGO — Illinois’ unemployment rate jumped to a record high of 16.4 percent in April, according to the state’s Department of Employment Security.

That means unemployment has jumped 12.2 percent just since March, the department said in a Thursday press release. At the same time, the number of unemployed people skyrocketed in Illinois to 1,004,400 million, a 280.3 percent increase compared to the previous month.

The unprecedented spike in unemployment comes at the state and country are in the midst of an economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s stay at home order, implemented March 21, led to numerous businesses temporarily or permanently shutting down. That sent people across Illinois filing for unemployment.

“This is a tremendously disturbing problem with everybody in the country … the high unemployment,” Gov. JB Pritzker said during a Thursday press conference. “The number of people who have been furloughed, laid off, perhaps permanently, the number of businesses, especially small businesses … when they close up, it’s hard for them to restart. This is a tragedy that requires us to really put shoulder to the wheel to make sure that not only the federal dollars” but also state funding goes to helping businesses and unemployed people.

The hospitality industry saw the biggest job losses, with 320,500 workers filing for unemployment, according to the state. Professional and business services lost 119,800 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities industries lost 110,000 jobs.

The state’s unemployment rate was 1.7 percent higher than the national unemployment rate for April, which was a record-breaking 14.7 percent.

The unemployment rate measures people who are out of work — whether laid off, furloughed or otherwise — but are looking for jobs.

The United States lost a record 20.5 million jobs in April, the “most sudden decline” since 1939.

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