Illinois unemployment: Some hope for more help from the feds

CAMPTON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- The nation is still dealing with historically high unemployment as the pandemic rages across the United States. But some unemployed Illinoisans have hope that more help is on the horizon.

"I realized I'm almost 50, I'm unemployed. I'm counting on this stuff until I can find something else," said John Belli.

Belli has been unemployed for seven months. He lost his sales job in mid-June, but he said he didn't get his first unemployment check until October due to problems with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

"It got more and more discouraging," Belli said. "And you just want to pull your hair out sometimes when there's just nothing you can do."

Now, according to the latest jobs report, 900,000 more people across the country have joined Belli and are now unemployed. It's a slight drop from the last report, but still historically, high job losses amid more coronavirus cuts with some becoming permanent.

"They're less likely to be temporary layoffs and more likely to be permanent layoffs, companies going under," said Andy Challenger, Senior Vice President at career transition firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "And so that doesn't bode well for the recovery, makes the upslope on the other side more difficult."

But Belli has hope for more help from the federal government. President Joe Biden proposed new $1,400 stimulus checks and expanded $400 weekly unemployment benefits.

"It's a circular thing that if the money is not flowing into the economy, the people looking for jobs and who want to get off unemployment, there are not going to be as many available," Belli said. "It's a time I never thought I'd see in my life."

Which is why he said more help would be a blessing.

"They'll help people at least catch up and do something besides worry about it all the time," Belli said.
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