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Over 73,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois, Second Largest Increase In U.S.

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A total of 73,515 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of Oct. 26 in Illinois, which had the second largest weekly increase (38%) in the nation, according to the latest report released Thursday.

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) there were 10,705 new claims filed during the same week in 2019. That's a 587% increase.

The latest claims reported by IDES are a 38% increase over the previous week of Oct. 19, when the state reported there were 53,138 claims filed in Illinois. The state's rate of increase is second only behind Kentucky, which saw a 69% increase in unemployment claims. However, Illinois had by far the largest increase in overall claims, with 20,377 more than the previous week. No other state reported an increase of more than 4,000 claims.

Since early March, a total of 1,979,988 claims have been filed with the state.

There were 751,000 total unemployment claims filed across the country last week.

The new claims filed in Illinois make up almost 10% of all claims filed.

So how is IDES working to keep up with the continued, weekly spike in claims the last few weeks?

They say they hired 30 new staffers to answer calls and is looking to hire more staffers. They have between 300 and 400 contracted call center agents handling calls - although there are fewer working on any given day now than than during summer months.

There were 46,948 new unemployment claims filed across the state, the week of Oct. 12.

There were 36,267 new unemployment claims in Illinois the week of Sept. 28.

IDES reported 29,390 new unemployment claims in Illinois the week of Sept. 21.

Another 25,976 claims were filed in Illinois the week of Sept. 14.

IDES has faced ongoing struggles filling claims during the pandemic. CBS 2 spoke with four IDES employees in May. For the first time, these workers offered a glimpse into the challenges IDES employees face daily working to get thousands of new unemployment claims processed, as well as the factors they believe contribute to why so many people have not received their benefits.

CBS 2 has extensively reported about how unemployment has surged in Illinois and neighboring states during the coronavirus pandemic.

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