IDES offices remain closed while rest of the state reopens


From Illinois Policy Institute

The Illinois Department of Employment Security was ill-prepared to handle record numbers of unemployed workers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, was slow to distribute federal help, exposed Illinoisans’ private information, then lefts thousands on hold awaiting answers. Here’s the latest:


Days since Illinois Department of Employment Security offices were open to the public.


Calls awaiting a response from IDES staff, as of June 4.


Illinoisans collecting unemployment benefits, as of May 22

$22 million

Amount spent through a no-bid contract to fix Illinois’ obsolete unemployment system and establish a call center.

Illinois ranks 7th worst in U.S. for pandemic unemployment assistance rollout

6/8/2021: Illinois was among the nation’s worst for delays in helping gig workers and the self-employed receive pandemic assistance unemployment payments, a federal audit found. Rampant fraud and inadequate reporting was also discovered nationwide.

Illinois recovery stalls as state sheds 4,000 private sector jobs in April

5/21/2021: While total payrolls were up 300, private sector jobs took a beating in April and lost 4,000 positions. Illinois’ labor market completely stalled as the national economic recovery slowed.

Thousands of Illinoisans await calls from state unemployment agency

5/7/2021: The Illinois Department of Employment Security had a backlog of 156K calls in February. Now, over a year into the pandemic, its offices remain closed to the public and 43K Illinoisans are awaiting a call from IDES.

School closures keep over 28,000 Illinois moms out of work

5/7/2021: States that have re-opened schools have also increased labor force participation of mothers, evidence suggests.

FOX 32 Chicago investigation with Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois’ unemployment pain hits all regions as recovery lags Midwest

4/22/2021: Illinois’ unemployment rate remains the highest in the Midwest despite March jobs growth. Unemployment is high across the state compared to the region.

552K Illinoisans getting or seeking unemployment benefits a year into COVID-19

3/18/2021: A year into COVID-19 and 552,000 Illinois workers are still in need of jobs. Despite that, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is asking for as much as $2 billion in new taxes on the small businesses that create most Illinois jobs.

Illinois unemployment claims approaching COVID-19 lockdown levels

12/17/2020: New unemployment claims are rising in Illinois, hitting 142,745 last week as COVID-19 restrictions continue.

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