Better Government Association looks into Gov. Pritzker's claim about unemployment rates during the pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In a press conference earlier this month, Gov. JB Pritzker claimed that when the pandemic began, the Illinois Department of Employment Security "was hit with something no one expected: 10 to 20 times the claims" it received during the 2008-09 recession.

Kianah Sepeda-Miller with the Better Government Association looked into if the number of claims filed in the early weeks of the pandemic reached the levels Pritzker said.

The Better Government Association found two peaks in unemployment claims that fell within the range Pritzker cited, although they never reached 20 times or even 15 times more.

"His office pointed to two weeks when state data show new unemployment claims surged by as much as 12 times the number of initial claims received in the same weeks during the 2008 recession. Those two weeks of peak claims fall within the range Pritzker cited, if not hitting 20," the Better Government Association wrote.

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According to the Better Government Association, a spokeswoman for the governor's office said Pritzker was referring to the difference between the claims IDES saw this year and the number of claims it has seen in years past.

"However, that more accurate comparison wasn't made clear in his remarks. We rate his claim Mostly True," the Better Government Association wrote.
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