As US reports June jobs surge, many Chicagoans still awaiting unemployment checks

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The latest U.S. unemployment report for June was touted in Washington as a comeback Thursday, but there's still a historic number of Americans without jobs and some Chicagoans say they have yet to feel much relief.

Of the more than 1 million people without jobs in Illinois, many are still waiting on employment checks.

They say the optimism coming from the White House hasn't quite reached them yet, and until that relief hits their bank accounts, their livelihoods hang in the balance.

Livia Matson,46, and Luis Reyes, 30, are among those awaiting unemployment checks.

"I just need that to tide me over," Matson said. "This can't go on. Money has to start flowing in."

"It's been over three and a half months now and I still haven't received one payment," Reyes said.

The Uber driver's family just welcomed their first child in March.

Reyes said with a newborn son, each delayed unemployment check translates to food he can't put on the table.

"It's been very frustrated and I, every day I wake up and I check my email," he said. "I also try to call in to try to see if I can speak to somebody and still no answer."

Matson said she was laid off from her accounting firm in April.

Having lost her husband to cancer last year, she is now the sole provider for her and her little brother.

"I went from May 5th last year with a two-income household, my husband and I caring for each other and my brother, who has Down syndrome, to literally no income," she said.

RELATED: US adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1% amid pandemic
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U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, as the job market improved for a second straight month.

This comes as President Donald Trump announced a drop in the unemployment rate as the country still grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact.

Unemployment fell to 11.1% in June, while 4.8 million jobs were added.

President Trump said the number of jobs shows the economy is making a strong comeback.

"Today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It's coming back extremely strong," he said.

But Matson and Reyes said they have yet to feel that strength and relief, especially after waiting months for checks that have yet to come.

"I just feel like they're trying to give false hope and optimism," Reyes said.

"I have to come up with cash to pay for my expenses," Matson said. "So if he says we're having a recovery, I'd love to see that."

Both Reyes and Matson told ABC7 that they have been waiting on the Illinois Department of Employment Security to sort out issues preventing them from receiving their money. But the clock is ticking.

With only more expenses to come, they don't know how much longer they can wait.
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