Political  Calculations

On 28 December 2013, approximately 74,000 Illinoisans who had been unemployed for more than 26 weeks but less than 73 weeks lost their unemployment insurance benefits when the federal government's emergency extended unemployment benefits program expired. Paying an average benefit of $320 per week, up to a maximum of $413 per week, Democratic Party politicians and interest groups vowed to do whatever it took to get their unemployment benefits back.

By spring, Illinois' elected representatives in the U.S. Congress used their influence to get the Illinois Department of Economic Security (IDES) to exploit a unique set of data it collects, which gave it the ability to track how these individuals fared in the state's labor market in the months following when they lost their eligibility to continue receiving the state's politically-coveted and federally-funded extended unemployment insurance benefits. In April 2014, the IDES reported that in January 2014, 10,000 of the 74,000 Illinoisans who had lost their unemployment benefits had gotten jobs.

One month later, the IDES reported that 12,700 of the 74,000 Illinoisans who had stopped receiving their extended unemployment checks when the federal government's program expired were working as of February 2014.

That was the last time the Illinois Department of Economic Security made that data public. Earlier this month, we contacted IDES to inquire if they would be publishing any additional data regarding the work status of these 74,000 individuals. Illinois DES spokesman Greg Rivara indicated that they had provided the data in response to requests from elected officials to support the legislative effort in Washington D.C. to reestablish federal funding for the program. Since that effort had stalled out, IDES' analysts had moved on to other work. Rivara also indicated that there were no plans to resume reporting Illinois' unique data on how well this segment of the state's jobless population was faring in the job market beyond what it had already provided.

Political Calculations

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