Illinois continued to share in the nation's economic pain wrought by COVID-19 with 178,421 unemployment claims filed last week.
The 56% jump, from 114,114 a week earlier, was part of a record 6.65 million first-time claims submitted nationally.
The malicious spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus is the main factor in Illinois. The primary preventive measure, social distancing, prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to shut down “non-essential” businesses, starting with bars and restaurants, on March 21, putting tens of thousands of people out of work.
The U.S. Labor Department reported COVID-19's similar impact across the country. It reported that nearly every state reported job losses because of the virus, led by accommodation and food service among service industries.
“However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries,” a Labor Department statement said. “Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”
During the same period a year ago, Illinois received just 9,230 first-time unemployment claims.