CHICAGO (CBS)– The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported 25,976 new unemployment claims were filed across the state last week, the week of Sept. 14.

That’s down slightly from the 27,384 claims filed in Illinois one week earlier, but nearly four times the 6,538 claims filed in the same timeframe of 2019.

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Unemployment claims across the nation have skyrocketed during the pandemic. In Illinois, more than 1.7 million new unemployment claims have been filed since early March.

IDES reported 26,194 unemployment claims filed the week of Aug. 24.

The state reported 26,262 unemployment claims were filed during the week of August 17 in Illinois.

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IDES reported 22,406 new unemployment claims were filed during the week of August 10 in Illinois.

CBS 2 spoke with four IDES employees. For the first time, these workers offered a glimpse into the challenges IDES employees face daily working to get thousands of new unemployment claims processed, as well as the factors they believe contribute to why so many people have not received their benefits.

CBS 2 has extensively reported about how unemployment has surged in Illinois and neighboring states during the coronavirus pandemic.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff