Evanston’s jobless rate more than tripled last month to 12.2 percent from 3.7 percent in March, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported today.

The sharp increase, as a result of pandemic-related business closures, also affected workers across the rest of the state.

Chicago’s jobless rate rose from 5% to 18.9%. Statewide the rate rose from 4.2% to 16.9%

When the report for May is issued a month from now it’s expected to show even higher unemployment levels, but based on the partial reopening of businesses that went into effect today, it is possible the jobless rate will decline when June figures are released.

The number of people looking for work in Evanston rose from 1,416 in March to 4,356 in April. And the size of Evanston’s labor force also shrank dramatically, from 38,717 in March to 35,681 in April, indicating that many people who had lost jobs either weren’t yet looking for work or hadn’t succeeded in getting through the overloaded IDES system to make their application for unemployment benefits.

The picture was grim all across the region, although with some evidence that more well-to-do communities were fairing somewhat better than less affluent ones.

The April jobless rate was 18.2% in Des Plaines, 11.6% in Highland Park, 15.2% in Northbrook, 19% in Skokie and 10.4% in Wilmette.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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