Number of people filing unemployment claims soars

GENESEO, III (KWQC) -- More than three million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week quadrupling the previous record set in 1982.


Iowans had nearly 42,000 new jobless claims in one week. In Illinois, march unemployment claims so far totaled 133,000. That surge from coronavirus closures is causing some headaches.

James Byars is just one of the many Illinois residents and Americans staying home. As the coronavirus pandemic is leaving its mark on the U.S. economy and unemployment claims continue to spike.

“And myself and three other guys were laid off,” he said.

Byars was working as a CNC operator until he was laid off last Friday. Since this wasn't his first time getting laid off, he was already in the Illinois Department of Employment system. He forgot his password and tried changing it but couldn't. So he called but wasn't able to get anyone until this Thursday morning.

“As of right now, they are working on changing my password right now,” he said.

Rebecca Cisco, Public Information Officer with Illinois Department of Employment says they are receiving a high volume of traffic on their website and calls. They have increased their web capacity and added additional staff members to the call center.

“We understand and empathize with the heightened level of frustration this situation has had on those wishing to file a claim,” Cisco said.

Cisco says the online portal is the safest, easiest, and fastest route to filling out and submitting a claim. It requires little personal information such as name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and the weight listed on your driver’s license. It can be done at any time of the day or night with the use of a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Avoid peak hours online and submit your claim before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

As doors for many businesses continue to stay closed. Many are doing everything they can hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Copy and paste my resume to certain companies. I go through Indeed, I’m doing my part, I do the footwork and see what kind of results I get,” Byars said.

Byars has some savings and one more check coming from his job. Anyone with a question or in need of assistance with unemployment benefits at this time is encouraged to visit their website