Chamber Members:

More records broken today in Illinois! Not sure if that is a good thing or not, but it’s a record. Yesterday we reported COVID tests went over the 50,000 mark and then today that number hit 51,000+. Positive tests were less than yesterday though, so we remain steady with averages.

Today is Thursday, so we look at unemployment numbers nationally and statewide. Also, an especially important reminder about the opening of the Will County application for CARES Act money to businesses.

National Unemployment Report

The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose last week, a sign of the job market’s fragility five months after the coronavirus pandemic began to devastate the economy. The economy remains challenging for many American workers, with the unemployment rate at 10.2% and sectors like leisure and hospitality experiencing huge losses in employment.

Last week, 1.1 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, the Labor Department reported Thursday, compared with 971,000 the previous week. There were 543,000 new claims last week for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a separate program aimed at self-employed people, gig workers and others not covered by traditional unemployment benefits. That number, unlike the figures for state claims, is not seasonally adjusted.

Illinois Unemployment Report

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -3.2 percentage points to 11.3 percent, while nonfarm payrolls added +93,200 jobs in July, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES.

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.1 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July, which was 10.2 percent, down -0.9 percentage points from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +7.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.9 percent.

In July, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+65,300), Education and Health Services (+14,100) and Professional and Business Services (+8,400). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Manufacturing (-4,600), Construction (-3,300) and Information (-1,200).

Today’s USPS News

The turmoil within the Postal Service has prompted some Democrats and local election officials to rethink their vote-by-mail strategies for November’s presidential election, shifting emphasis to special drop boxes and early voting that bypass the post office.

With that in mind, House Democrats unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would require same-day processing for mail-in ballots and give the cash-strapped Postal Service a $25 billion infusion while erasing changes pursued by the agency’s new leader.

Will County CARES Act Grant Money Reminder

Will County has earmarked more than $24 million to go towards businesses as a small business assistance grant. The grants of up to $15,000 are to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Applications will be accepted online starting August 24 and should remain open through September 28.  We’ve heard that the grants will be available to those companies with 25 employees or less and revenue of $2.5 million or less. For more information visit:

Two documents are attached for review as well.

Illinois Extends Rental Assistance Deadline

Illinois renters will have an additional week to apply for assistance in paying past due rents, Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday. Because of damage caused by severe storms last week, the deadline to apply for assistance has been extended to Aug. 28. Landlords will have until August 30 to complete their portion of the aid assistance.

The program is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust said more than 75,000 people were left without power because of the storms, which left many people who want assistance unable to apply for it. Information about the program can be found at

U.S. Chamber Launches “Cost of Inaction” Campaign

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched the “Cost of Inaction” campaign to quantify and bring to life the very real pain Americans are feeling every day that Congress and the administration fail to provide additional economic relief to individuals, families, businesses, and states impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The inability of Congress and the administration to reach a compromise has a very real and very large human cost,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “For schools and businesses to get the resources they need to safely reopen, for small businesses to keep their doors open, and for those that have lost their jobs to continue to provide for their families, Congress must act. There is no excuse for inaction.”

To launch the campaign, the Chamber is focusing first on the costs associated with safely reopening K-12 schools across the country. In the coming days, the campaign will illustrate how individuals and various industries are being impacted by Congress’ inability to reach a compromise.

Costs Associated with K-12 Schools: “Our nation’s schools face numerous challenges in safely reopening for in-person education, but lack of funding and the threat of lawsuits shouldn’t be among them. Yet, because of inaction on a phase IV package, that is the reality confronting our schools,” Bradley said.

The School Superintendents Association has estimated that it will cost the average school district $1.8 million or $485 per student in additional costs for disinfectants, personal protective equipment, and other preparations to reopen for the 2020–2021 school year. The House-passed HEROES Act provides $58 billion for K-12 education and the Senate proposed HEALS Act proposed $70 billion in aid. Yet not a dime of that will reach our local schools if Congress and the administration fail to reach an agreement.

At the same time, school districts across the country are raising concerns about the potential for COVID-related litigation. Spurious lawsuits could quickly bankrupt school districts who are already confronting large budget shortfalls. That is why the School Superintendents Association, Association of Educational Service Agencies, and the National School Boards Association have all asked Congress to enact a liability safe harbor for schools. For a liability safe harbor to become law, Congress must act.

4 Strategies to Covid-Proof Your Sales

Remote work isn’t going away. These strategies from SaaS sales teams will work for the long haul.

  1. Embrace Remote Work

In the SalesRoads study, more than 30 percent of respondents reported that 26 to 50 percent of their team members were working remote for the first time. Evidently, it’s going well: More than nine in 10 of those surveyed said they’re more likely to consider remote work in the future.

To be fair, this trend was underway long before Covid-19 hit U.S. shores. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 39 percent of employees told pollster Gallup that their employers offered them flex time or the ability to work remotely. That number has increased in recent months, with 57 percent of employees reporting the same in Gallup’s latest survey iteration.

Remote work isn’t going away. Develop processes around remote sales that will work for the long haul. When it’s time to hire new salespeople, prioritize candidates who’ve proved they can work remotely for months or years at a time.

  1. Focus on Late 2020

Especially in the B2B space, sales aren’t made in a day. In many cases, they take months. There’s not much you can do about your sales figures today. What you can control is what they will look like around the end of the year.

Especially if you sell software, piggyback on the push for virtual services. Remind companies of the risk management value of digital solutions. Point out that online models tend to be cheaper than traditional ones, especially in areas like marketing.

Like sales, new technologies take time to implement. Start the conversation now so that you see the bump in your late-2020 sales figures.

  1. Support Working Parents

Quarantine has changed the role of working parents. They have to wear all sorts of new hats, from working alongside their kids to acting as their teachers.

The good news is, less than a fifth (16.6 percent) of SaaS professionals told SalesRoads that childcare or home schooling impacted their ability to sell. To put things in perspective, over three times as many respondents (49.3 percent) reported that remote work had affected their sales.

While not everyone struggles with childcare — and of course, not everyone has children — SaaS pros have found ways to stay productive. It is up to employers to guide them toward those by, for instance, providing a quiet workspace or babysitting funds to workers who might need it.

  1. Leverage Live Video

Are you a Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype aficionado? Since at-home work became a norm, video conferencing platforms have grown increasingly popular.

With video conferencing, sales teams can conduct meetings and webinars live, which engage leaders in a more personal manner. Use it for webinars, product demonstrations, and even for follow-ups.

Finally, here are the details about an extremely informational session that will serve as our next Virtual Conference. “Making the Most of your Membership Profile”

Please join the Joliet Chamber for a free, interactive virtual conference to best utilize your membership listing on the Chamber website including:

  • How to Make Your Directory Page Pop by updating company information, adding images and video, and displaying staff.
  • Promote Your Business by adding Hot Deals, Member to Member Deals, Job Postings, and Events.
  • Connect with Other Members – share your stories via the Community Feed.

In preparation for the webinar, please make sure you know your Joliet Chamber Membership log-in information.  If you have not yet set-up a log-in and password, please contact the Chamber office by calling (815) 727-5371 or email

Please use the link below 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