Extending federal unemployment would help 64,000 Illinois workers
percent still without work one month later
and older workers hardest hit
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[April 18, 2014]
CHICAGO — When federal long-term
unemployment benefits ended in December, 74,000 Illinois workers
immediately lost their temporary help. One month later, 64,000, or
86 percent, still were without work, according to an Illinois
Department of Employment Security analysis released April 14.
"This seriously undermines the perception that unemployment
insurance discourages workers from finding employment," said IDES
Director Jay Rowell. "You should look at this analysis as
confirmation that reauthorizing emergency unemployment is a
cost-effective way to help families stay in their homes and put food
on their tables. But you cannot look at this and say that people
don't want to work."
The U.S. Senate recently voted 59-38 for a
proposal that would restore federal unemployment benefits for 2.8
million American workers. House leaders, however, have not committed
to allowing a vote.
Veterans and older workers face the greatest challenges when
looking for employment, the analysis showed. Of those younger than
25, 80.1 percent did not earn wages in January; of those between the
ages of 25 and 34, 84.4 percent did not earn wages; and of those 54
or older, 90.5 percent did not earn wages. Additionally, 88.2
percent of veterans still were without wages 30 days after emergency
An IDES anti-fraud initiative made the analysis possible. To stop
workers from collecting unemployment while collecting a paycheck,
Illinois lawmakers in 2012 authorized IDES to require employers to
provide monthly wage reports. The data will ensure that individuals
who collect a paycheck will not collect a benefit check. Illinois is
the only state to require monthly wage reports to stop waste, fraud
Of the workers collecting federal emergency unemployment when the
program ended, 59.2 percent identified their race as white.
Twenty-eight percent reported that they earned a high school
diploma; 10.4 percent reported at least one year of college or
vocational school; and 11.5 percent reported that they earned a
college degree. Fourteen percent indicated that they did not
graduate from high school.
Illinois' improving economy has meant fewer people collecting
unemployment insurance. Illinois added 6,400 jobs in March, and the
unemployment rate is the lowest since February 2009, during the
heart of the national recession. Since January 2010, when job growth
returned to Illinois following nearly two years of consecutive
monthly losses, Illinois has added 257,000 private sector jobs.
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An additional sign of an improving economy is the number of
help wanted job ads posted online. In March, there were more
than 195,000 unique online job ads, and 85 percent sought
full-time workers, according to the Conference Board's "Help
Wanted Online" data. The
is a global, independent business membership and research
association. The data measures new, first-time online jobs and
jobs reposted from the previous month on Internet job boards,
corporate boards and smaller, niche websites.
Included in the data are more than 150,000 positions advertised
the state's hiring board, operated by IDES. Job seekers can build
multiple resumes to emphasize different skills and experiences.
Business owners can use keyword-matching technology to search
resumes and find the best candidate. IllinoisJobLink is free for
workers and employers. It compares favorably with private efforts
that cost hundreds of dollars. No-cost human resources recruitment
services for employers and workers are available on the website and
by calling 877-342-7533.
The unemployment insurance program offers temporary support to
workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. The
average weekly benefit in Illinois is about $320. The maximum weekly
family payment is $562. Emergency unemployment to the 74,000
individuals represents approximately $23.7 million in purchasing
power each week. The unemployment insurance program also supports
local businesses because benefit dollars are spent at local grocers,
gas stations and clothing stores. Economic analysis shows that each
$1 in unemployment insurance generates $1.63 in economic activity.
President George W. Bush signed the initial emergency
unemployment program into law in 2008. Since then, 12 extensions
have been authorized with bipartisan majorities. President Barack
Obama has urged Congress to extend emergency unemployment through
Illinois Department of
file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]