Illinois unemployment holds steady in May
The May unemployment report for the state of Illinois revealed that the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.1% with the number of non-farm jobs declining by 7900. The May unemployment rate was the same as in April, though the number of Illinoisans who were unemployed in April was revised slightly upward 1300.
The continuing rebound from the pandemic shutdowns was a big part of the gain of 6300 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy. Illinois also added 2000 manufacturing jobs in May and 1900 in educational and health services. Declines were seen in government, which was down by 10,000 jobs, as well as construction which lost 5600 jobs and financial activities which was down by 1300.
Nationally unemployment in May stood at 5.8 percent, or 1.3 percent better than Illinois’ figure. One year ago, in the depths of the lockdown, Illinois’ unemployment was 15.4 percent.
Speaking up for Illinois small businesses
This week I joined twenty of my fellow legislators in writing to Governor Pritzker to ask him to help our small businesses who are struggling to find enough staffing to fully open their doors. Now that all the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, many of our local businesses are still having a difficult time getting back to 100% of operations because they cannot find enough employees. “Help wanted” signs are in evidence all around the state.
We asked Governor Pritzker to follow the example of many of our neighboring states and “help our small businesses who are finally getting back on their feet by giving them a plan and a timeline, and helping them find the staffing they need to truly get on the path to recovery.”
Click here to read the full letter.
State announces vaccine sweepstakes
Following the example of several other states which have offered incentives to encourage their residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, Illinois is introducing an “All In For The Win” vaccine sweepstakes. Any Illinois resident who has been vaccinated or is about to be, will be automatically entered for a chance to win a share $10 million in prizes.
Vaccinated adults will be entered in a contest with $7 million in prizes: three $1 million jackpots and 40 $100,000 jackpots. Youth who have been vaccinated will be entered into a contest for chance to win one of twenty $150,000 scholarships. Drawings will begin on July 8 and continue each week through the month of August. Winners can choose to remain anonymous or decline to participate at all if they are contacted by the Department of Public Health. Click here for more information.
Supporting Team Blake
For the past couple of years I have pledged to donate a portion of my salary to help residents of our community. This month I was proud to support Blake Kinnett of Alvin, a young man I have told you about previously who is fighting ALD, a life-threatening disease. The community has rallied around his family and formed Team Blake to support Blake and his amazing parents, Becky and John, during these difficult times.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $3,449,837,641 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $5.8 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.
More news from around the state
To get all the latest news and information from every Illinois state agency, visit the state’s newsfeed website at https://www2.illinois.gov/news. There you will find the latest press releases from state agencies. If you want to receive updates only from the agencies you select, you can sign up to receive state agency news alerts by going to https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/gov/pages/communicationsoptin.aspx and signing up for e-mail news updates.