Illinois unemployment

Illinois Department of Employment Security, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate in many northern Illinois counties fell from last year. 

Rockford’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent last month -- down from 7.4 percent in November 2015. That’s according to preliminary figures released last week by the Illinois employment security department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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.

Bob Gough, with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says the state has nearly 40,000 fewer jobs than peak employment, in pre-recession fall 2011. 

Illinois is the nation's worst in reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

The state overpaid a lot of unemployment money during the past four years: $714-million. And it only recovered 37% of that money. That’s the worst record in the nation. The national average is 66 percent.

Unemployment overpayments are benefits collected by people who aren’t eligible for them, whether done intentionally or as a result of not understanding the rules once they return to work.

"meeting room" by Flickr User Brisbane City Council / (CC X 2.0)

The state Department of Employment Security says unemployment decreased in Illinois in August, the fourth-straight monthly drop.

    

But state officials were not celebrating the drop in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent from 5.8 percent in July.

Instead on Thursday department Director Jeff Mays noted that the state also lost jobs in August. According to the department's monthly report on statewide unemployment, nonfarm jobs in Illinois decreased from 6,016,900 to 6,008,700.

"Attendee lists" by Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski / (CC X 2.0)

The government temporarily sends cash assistance to people who've been laid off and are looking for a job.

  

But starting next week, they won't receive unemployment insurance unless they've provided the state with a resume. 

Jeff Mays is the Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. He says it will help to link employers with skilled workers.

"Come July 17, it is a condition -- not for filing you can file a claim -- but it will be a condition for getting a check or money on your debit card. And if you don't do it, you won't," Mays said. 

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