Employment Security Offices closed Christmas Eve, New Year TMs Eve

      The Illinois Department of Employment Security will be closed Friday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 31.

      Although offices will be closed, all services will be available at

      People will be able to file for first-time unemployment benefits, certify for benefits which is necessary to receive payment, and switch that method of payment to direct deposit.

      Offices re-open on the respective Mondays. Offices are open 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

      The Department strongly encourages direct deposit. Direct deposit is a simple, smart and secure way to receive benefits. Debit cards also are available. There are no fees associated with a debit card when used inside more than 5,000 Illinois banks that accept Visa, or point-of-service counters across the country that accept Visa, such as grocery stores, drug stores and convenience stores. Customers can request cash back after qualifying purchases. Fees likely will be assessed when using out-of-network ATM machines.

      The November unemployment rate was 9.8 percent after dropping -0.2 points from October. The seasonally adjusted figure is the most recent available and reflects eight consecutive monthly declines.

      Nationally, the November unemployment rate increased +0.2 to 9.8 percent. November is the first month since January 2007 that the Illinois unemployment rate fell below the national rate. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work regardless if they are collecting benefits. A person not collecting unemployment benefits, or who has exhausted benefits, still will be reflected in the employment rate if they continue to look for work.

      Illinois has added +54,700 jobs so far this year.

      The IDES supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development. It does so through nearly 60 offices across the state, including the Illinois workNet Centers.

      Career planning, training and job placement assistance are available at Illinois workNet centers. The services encourage individuals to assess their current skills and identify the training or education needed to augment those skills so they can re-enter the workforce.

      The IDES also administers tax credits and bonding rograms that reward employers who hire specific workers, such as military veterans and the formerly incarcerated. The IDES hosts workshops to help employers better understand how unemployment insurance claims are evaluated, what is required to successfully challenge a claim, and other services to help businesses evaluate current and future growth potential.