Illinois’ unemployment rate returning to pre-pandemic levels

A new report shows that Illinois ranks 25th in the country in employment recovery, with unemployment down 85% from this time last year. The study conducted by WalletHub and shows Illinois’ job recovery post-pandemic and highlights how states are recovering in the job market. All 50 states were ranked 1-50 based on job recovery. South Carolina ranked at the top of the list with Iowa and Arizona. New Mexico was at the bottom. Jill Gonzalez of WalletHub explained why Illinois has seen a decrease in unemployment claims.

“This means that the decreasing COVID-19 cases brought on a high number of new jobs and new workers,” Gonzalez said. “These are both signs that the pandemic’s hold on the economy is also decreasing.” Illinois has been a Democratic state when voting in elections over the past handful of elections. Gonzalez highlighted how that factors into the state’s recovery. “With an average ranking of 27 of the most recovered states, blue states had worse recovery from unemployment ranks than red which ranked 25th on average,” Gonzalez said. Illinois has received over $8 billion in federal tax funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to help deal with pandemic-related issues. Gonzalez said with the unemployment rates starting to decline, federal funding could be on its way out.

“The U.S. unemployment rate is now at 3.9%, which is very close to the pre-pandemic normal of 3.5%, ” Gonzalez explained. “These numbers give the federal reserve room to start withdrawing the economic support that was put in place at the start of COVID-19’s onslaught.” The unemployment rate for Illinois in January was a 5%, higher than the national average.  Illinois has shown the 4th fastest recovery in the Midwest with only Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota ranked above Illinois in terms of unemployment recovery.