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“Illinois’ extraordinarily-large unemployment benefits are destroying the work ethic of the state’s formerly-employed men and women, making them more dependent on government,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of the Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF), “and maybe that’s what the Democrats running the state want.”

A report by the Illinois Policy Institute states that “Illinois employers are hurting from a lack of workers while the state unemployment rate remains high. When a parent can stay home and make $51,627 on unemployment, the prospects of getting more workers back to work this summer appear dim.”

According to the report,

  • Illinois’ unemployment rate rose to 7.2% July 15, the 8th worst in the nation, at the same time employers are having trouble filling job vacancies.
  • The average Illinoisan earns $55,770 a year at work. If that person stayed home with their kids and collected unemployment, it would be $51,627.
  • For a parent earning around the state average, that’s $4,000 less for deciding not to work, and with no child care or transportation expenses.
  • The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce calculated an unemployed worker receives $35 an hour.

Illinois’ 7.2% unemployment rate exceeds the national average of 5.9%. Government policies are not helping reduce it, states the report.

Maximum unemployment benefits – which are set based on the average wage of a person paying into unemployment – are currently $805 per week for single, childless Illinoisans. That is $505 from the state and $300 from federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation funds.

The report concludes, “So go to work, average $55,770 and pay for child care, transportation and taxes. Stay home, save the expenses, collect tax breaks and get up to $51,627.”


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