The Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced it is closing seven offices and cutting 192 positions. The list of closures includes the DeKalb office. The agency says the decision is due in part because a somewhat improved economy. That has led to fewer unemployment insurance claims.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) also blames mounting federal budget reductions IDES is nearly 100 percent federally funded.
The agency issued this statement in a news release:
"A recession touches IDES in the exact opposite way that it touches the business community. In the private sector, cost-cutting decisions are required at the beginning of a recession. At federally funded IDES, cost-cutting occurs when the recession has ended and the recovery is moving forward," IDES Director Jay Rowell said. "This difficult decision reflects smaller federal discretionary spending and undoubtedly is unwelcome in many corners of our state. I hope it will encourage individuals not already doing so to consider accessing our services through the internet. More than half of those applying for benefits do so electronically, and all eligible workers receive their benefit payments electronically through direct deposit or debit card."
Offices to close: Centralia, DeKalb, East St. Louis, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Mattoon and Murphysboro. Closings are expected in mid-March based on several factors, including time needed to accommodate collective bargaining requirements.
IDES already consolidated 10 offices. Of the 10 offices, five were in Chicago and the others were in Evanston, Freeport, Litchfield, Mt. Vernon and Pekin.