Illinois Department of Employment Security

Illinois unemployment offices have been closed to public access since the stay at home order was put in effect earlier this year. 

But Governor J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday there was another safety reason for keeping the doors locked.

Amtec Photos via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Illinois’ September unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s down by a tenth of a percent from August, and state officials are calling that a record low.


The Toys R Us store location in Springfield, Illinois.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As big box stores continue to close, some worry Illinois isn't ready for the changing economy.

The latest data shows the number of unemployed Illinois residents is at its lowest since September of 2007.

But officials with Governor Bruce Rauner's administration say Illinois is still lagging when it comes to job growth.

Unemployment continued to fall in Illinois in February, hitting 6 percent for the first time since 2008.  

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Tuesday that the jobless rate fell to that level from a January rate of 6.1 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February.

Unemployment has now fallen in Illinois for 11 of the past 12 months. In February 2014, the jobless rate was 7.9 percent.  

Photo Credit http://www.innov8social.com @Innov8Social

Unemployment in the Springfield metro area last month dropped to its lowest level in 6 years.   The rate of 5.7 % is below both the state and national averages.   

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the Springfield area added 2,000 jobs last month, mostly in construction, educational and health services and retail.

A former Illinois Department of Employment Security manager has been fined for directing his co-workers to do his college homework on taxpayer time.  

An April 3 report by Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza  says 63-year-old Clyde Redfield was fined $2,500. He resigned from his $71,000 job in 2012 after the allegations surfaced.  

WBEZ

Illinois is continuing to deal with the effects of the federal government shutdown. The state agency that handles unemployment says hundreds of laid-off federal workers have to pay back their benefits.

During the shutdown, the Illinois Department of Employment Security had a significant spike in calls from laid off federal workers. A few thousand applied for benefits, and 577 ultimately collected money.