Chamber Members:

It is Thursday, so that means our usual update on the unemployment numbers and job reports. It was a nice surprise yesterday to see the Governor split the regions up especially here for Will County to be removed from the Chicago/Cook County region.

Unemployment Report

Good news and bad news to share on the unemployment front today. Basically, the number of claims stayed stuck at 1.3 million. The uptick in applications mirror the areas getting hit hardest with spikes in COVID cases. Florida being the best example with a doubling of claims to nearly 130,000.

The total number of people receiving jobless benefits actually dropped to 17.3 million, suggesting that rehiring is occurring. However, nearly 1 million self-employed and gig workers have applied last week for the separate program set aside for them.

Second stimulus check: When would it arrive? The debate starts next week

When Congress returns to work on Monday after a two-week recess, lawmakers will confront a troubled US economy that continues to shed jobs and critical jobless benefits. To address the continuing economic crisis, Congress will begin to debate a new economic rescue package that is now expected to include a second stimulus check for eligible recipients.

The important date range to get something done exists between July 20 and August 7. That gives Congress three work weeks to craft, debate, negotiate and pass another stimulus package before its next recess. That gives them 15 working days (not including weekends) until Aug. 7, the last day of its session. Any new bill would have to pass both chambers on or before the 7th of August.

What happens if they miss the August 7th target? As of right now, it is uncertain if they’ll remain in DC or head back home for the August recess. That should last through Labor Day which is the 7th of September.

When would the IRS send the payment? It’s still possible for the IRS to start sending checks in August, if the House and Senate do give a second round of stimulus checks the green light by the end of July. For reference, the president signed the CARES Act into law on March 27 and the first stimulus payments went out less than three weeks later, on April 15.

For the purpose of speculation only, let’s say that a new stimulus act becomes law on Friday, Aug. 7. Following the CARES Act timeline, the first checks could go out by Aug. 26. It’s plausible, however, that the IRS could move even faster to send out the first wave of stimulus checks, since it already has the mechanism in place from the first batch, including a tool for people to sign up for direct deposit and track their payments.  Factors like how many people would qualify for a payment the second time around could play a role in slowing down or speeding up this timeline.

The passage of a second round of IRS payments appears to depend on two things: how badly the economy is faring and if lawmakers believe a direct payment to millions of people is the best way to respond to the current recession. We will keep an eye on developments on this and other topics beginning next week.

Update on the Will County CARES Act Funds

The CARES Act Funding committee met at the end of last week and continued the discussion on how to best disburse $120 million in funds from the Act to governments, businesses, and non-profits. The next step appears to be conducting surveys with the above-mentioned organizations to see how best the federal aid can be distributed.

The committee is scheduled to meet again this Friday and we will be sure to pass along any information regarding the survey process so that your needs can be heard.

Additional Federal Relief for Education

Governor Pritzker said that he will spend $108.5 million in additional federal relief funds on additional efforts to close the state’s digital divide in K-12 and on bolstering universities and community colleges. The money comes from a discretionary fund for governors that was part of the first federal coronavirus relief bill. The governor had not said how he would spend his portion until now.

Pritzker also said that using the funding to bridge the digital divide, provide professional development for educators, and create resources for student’s social-emotional health will advance his vision for equity in education.

The largest share of the money, $49 million, will go to colleges to help recruit and retain students. Another $40 million is earmarked for more spending on technology and broadband access for K-12 districts, signaling the depth and breadth of the state’s digital divide despite efforts to quickly bridge it when schools closed in March.

Some $10 million will go to fund early childhood mental health programs, professional development, and a text messaging campaign to help spur learning at home for the state’s youngest children.

For K-12 schools, about $50 million will go to closing the digital divide, training for educators and parents, and social emotional support for students. School districts will receive $32.5 million to purchase devices and $7.5 million to purchase WiFi hotspots. Another $7.5 million will be dedicated to training educators and families to help them use new technology.

Finally, we have information to share about our next Virtual Conference on Monday, July 20. The session will take place at 10:00 AM with the newly announced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) here at Joliet Junior College.

Small Business Development Center & Phase 4 Economic Resurgence Tools
Please join the Joliet Chamber for an introduction and overview of the new Small Business Development Center and Phase 4 resurgence tools and tips.

  • Introduce the SBDC’s Starting Your Business training for local entrepreneurs
  • Develop a directory of local Chamber members to help startup companies in key areas
  • Share new tools to help existing small businesses with their growth at no cost
  • Present thought-provoking ideas to aid local companies in sales in the months ahead

Click here to register:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors



Mike Paone

Vice President – Government Affairs

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

815.727.5371 main

815.727.5373 direct