Unemployment up in all Illinois metro areas as state reports record jobless rate in June

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Thursday, July 23, 2020
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Illinois' latest unemployment numbers for June were the highest rate for that month on record, according to the state's Department of Employment Security.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's another brutal milestone. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the latest unemployment numbers for June were the highest rate for that month on record.

The data shows that unemployment was up in every Illinois metro area.

There were 36,000 new claims last week, which is four times the amount a year ago.

RELATED: 1.4M more sought unemployment aid, first increase since March

"It's challenging. It is. And I just have to be the encouragement for myself in times like these," said Royce Huggard, who has been unemployed since March.

Huggard said he has applied to more than 200 jobs with no luck, and that the extra $600 dollars per week of federal enhanced unemployment is vital. But the extra money is set to expire this weekend.

"Am I going to be able to keep a roof over my head? Am I going to be able to eat? Do I have to file bankruptcy? Am I going to lose, you know, the little assets I do have? Those are things that are going through my head," Huggard said.

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New research from Morgan Stanley and the University of Michigan suggests that without an idea of whether extra federal unemployment money will continue, consumers may shift from spending into saving, even after more stimulus checks arrive. That's not good in an economy based on buying and selling.

"As consumer spending falls, because of that, businesses themselves can't make decisions about bringing people back when they're worried about demand for their products falling, because the stimulus checks very well may not come," said Andy Challenger, senior vice president of employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

It's a ripple effect on the economy. No extra money to hurting Americans can lead to no extra spending.

"The billions and trillions of dollars that we spent stimulating the economy with the hopes of getting us to the other side of the virus still intact could be for naught if businesses close and jobs are permanently lost," Challenger said.

But for Huggard, the search for work goes on.

"It eventually is going to get better. That's what I'm trusting, you know, as the song goes, trouble don't last always and you have to keep things like that in mind," he said.