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Illinois residents filed 102,736 new claims for unemployment benefits last week according to data released by the U.S. Labor Department this morning.

That number, while huge by most standards, is the lowest tally of new filings in the weeks since the surge of COVID-19-related layoffs began.

The total was 141,000 for the previous week and over 178,000 the week before and 114,000 the week before that.

Across the country the number of new jobless claims also fell last week from the prior week. The Labor Department counted 4.4 million claims last week, down by 810,000 from the previous week’s revised total.

A breakdown of jobless claims for Evanston was not available from the federal report. The state is scheduled to release local jobless figures for March at noon today.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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