SPRINGFIELD – Applications for unemployment benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The last two days, the Illinois Department of Employment Security has received over 41,000 unemployment benefit claims, compared to 4,445 the corresponding days in 2019.
The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
In some states, the demand for help may outstrip the ability to pay claims. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 21 states began the year with unemployment insurance fund balances below the levels recommended to stay solvent in a recession. States are expected to receive some help from the federal government.