CHICAGO (CBS) — In Illinois, two weeks ago, about 10,000 applied for unemployment benefits.
This week , more than 114,000.
CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey spoke to people caught in the coronavirus crisis.
Business owners and their employees said they never thought they’d be in this position, but at least they know they’re not alone.
Salon owner Jeffrey Lamorte returned to his salon Thursday to pick up supplies used just about everywhere: latex gloves.
“We already sent a load already to Silver Cross Hospital,” Lamorte said.
The gloves used to handle hair dye. Now he’s donating to local hospitals. He feels like he needs to do something, because he can’t help his 120 employees who are now left without jobs.
“Everything that comes in upwards of 50% goes out immediately. So to keep on payroll or something is not something most salons can even dream of doing,” Lamorte said.
Stylist Brittiany DeRose was a full-time stylist in this now empty studio. COVID-19 put her and her husband out of their jobs. She filed for unemployment last week.
DeRose said that, until now, she didn’t realize that she took her job for granted.
“Very quickly it became real,” DeRose said.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said it takes three to 10 days to receive the first payment.
“I think most people understand that it’s pretty congested right now. So I’m being patient,” she said. “I’ll be checking the mail.”
It’s not been smooth sailing for everyone in the filing process. After getting repeated error messages online, one Lansing couple said they’ve been calling IDES since Monday.
“It would say that due to the number of calls that they were unavailable,” said the woman from Lansing.
It could be due to a glitch with a previous application, so they’re not even counted in the more than 114,000 new claims last week, which is a more than 1300% spike compared to the same week last year.
DeRose said it does help to know she’s not alone.
“I definitely don’t feel destitute or sorry for myself. I know that so many people are going through this and it definitely helps,” she said.
The new unemployment claims are from before Illinois Governor Pitzker officially ordered people to stay home. Next week expect to see many more.