Illinois unemployment rate drops to historic February lows; claims surge in March

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) ----- In a new announcement, the Illinois Department of Employment Security notes that while the unemployment rate fell to historic lows in February, the state is now responding to a massive surge in claims due to the effects of COVID-19.

IDES numbers show a -0.1 percentage point drop, hitting 3.4 percent, which was lower than the national unemployment rate for the month, 3.5 percent.

Comparatively, IDES says the dramatic rise in March unemployment numbers can be attributed to the statewide mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, claim totals hit 133,763 compared to 27,493 from last year’s count.

In response to the totals, Deputy Governor Dan Hynes says the state is working to help those impacted.

“This administration remains dedicated to providing relief to small businesses and families during this challenging period for the state economy. As the state navigates this economic uncertainty, the governor will use every tool at the state’s disposal to help small businesses and families get the help they need,” said Hynes.