Peoria May Not See Same Unemployment Rate Swell As Other Cities, GPEDC Says

Mar 30, 2020

Illinois unemployment claims skyrocketed from 10,000 the week ending March 14 to more than 114,000 the following week.

 The reasons were business closures and layoffs linked to the novel coronavirus. Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti said specific Peoria-area data isn't available yet, but he thinks the area will see an impact.

 "Anecdotally, we know that we probably have at least a proportionate share. I think we are at least somewhat lucky in the Peoria area because so much of our workforce is tied up in both healthcare, which is obviously an essential service, and manufacturing," he said.

 Those are two of the largest sectors by share of employment in the Peoria metropolitan area. Still, Setti said the service and retail industries are particularly hard-hit in Peoria and elsewhere across the state.


A recently-passed Congressional relief package beefs up unemployment benefits and offers assistance to impacted businesses.

"Help is on the way. It'll take us a little bit to sift through these programs, to learn about their rules, their applications, their timeframes. But there is help out there," Setti said.

The city of Peoria's Economic Development Department launched a new Combating COVID-19 website Monday as a one-stop shop for information on business grants and loans, unemployment, and more.

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