Chamber Members:

Today we share once again the jobless claims over the past week. We look below at some other topics and updates. The main news is the announcement of an agreement to avert a government shutdown, but that means no coupling with coronavirus funding. We had a highly informative virtual conference and announce the next one up, which will actually be our second Legislative Coffee.

Government Shutdown News

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have informally agreed to pursue a clean, short-term stopgap measure to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, sources in both parties confirmed Thursday.

That means the continuing resolution (CR) needed to keep the government open past Sept. 30 would be free of controversial policy riders that have bogged down previous funding bills, significantly lowering the odds of a shutdown leading up to the crucial Nov. 3 elections.

The tentative deal also means the government funding bill and a new coronavirus relief package being negotiated between Pelosi and Mnuchin would not be part of the same talks. Both Mnuchin and Pelosi, who spoke Tuesday, agreed to “work to avoid a shutdown and keep the government open, and that the best way to do that is a clean CR,” said a source familiar with the talks.

Weekly Jobs Update

New applications for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, but the entire decline stemmed from a major change in how the data is reported instead of more people finding jobs. The labor market showed no progress absent the change.

Initial jobless claims fell by 130,000 to a seasonally adjusted 881,000 in the last week of August, the Labor Department said Thursday. These figures reflect applications filed the traditional way through state unemployment offices.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week it would alter its adjustment process to make the report more accurate. The level of seasonally adjusted new claims has run notably higher than the real or actual number of people applying for benefits each week, a problem that became more pronounced in the past month. The new method began with this week’s report. The BLS does not plan to revise previous data to reflect its new statistical approach.

The unadjusted or real number of new jobless claims, meanwhile, suggest there was barely any change last week in how many people are applying for benefits. They rose slightly to 833,352 from 825,761. It was the fifth straight week in which unadjusted claims have been below 1 million.

Halfway Through a Pandemic?

It’s nearly six months after the United States’ first confirmed Covid death. We seem to be still slowly coming out of the economic collapse and are certainly dealing with new restrictions as recent as last week. As reported above, jobs continue to be lost.

September may be remembered as the turning point for the country’s pandemic or not. Will we know whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us or whether it is yet to come. Some industries won’t recover for years. Many job losses in hospitality, retail and travel are expected to become permanent, as business trips plummet and people rely more heavily on online shopping.

Still, the country has likely regained about 45 percent of the 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic. For now, it’s best to keep following guidelines from CDC, IDPH, and OSHA to be covered with all issues concerning employees and customers. We had an informative conference today that went over nearly two hours’ worth of questions on employer situations moving forward especially with schools back in session. The info will be posted on our Covid resource page. Keep promoting social distancing, masks, and proper hygiene.

Update on Concerns with Region 7 Mitigations

We’re still waiting on an answer or response from the Governor’s office regarding our letter about the measures on bars and restaurant. More recently, an issue has arisen with some remarkably interesting questions in terms of the actual numbers being reported.  We’re working behind the scenes to get some answers from IDPH and hopefully our concerns will be addressed. Stay tuned for more on this front as we’re already a week into the measure and have valid wonders as to what happens next Wednesday after we reach the 14-day period of reduction efforts.

Latest on the Skinny Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, is sending his colleagues a letter calling for “another comprehensive, bipartisan” Covid relief bill.

Here is what he had to say about the Republican efforts to call a targeted bill next week. “Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated.’ Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people. With no money for rental assistance, no money for nutrition assistance, and no money for state and local services, the census, or safe elections, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans would be making another unacceptable and ineffective attempt at providing relief.”

Eviction Ban Response

The Trump administration’s new eviction ban faces a slew of legal and political challenges that could undercut an ambitious and unorthodox attempt to save tens of millions of Americans from homelessness.

The potential problem is that the eviction ban is a groundbreaking test of the CDC’s power that experts say will undoubtedly prompt several legal challenges. And advocates for both tenants and the real estate industry fear that the expiration of the protections at the end of the year could create a dangerous housing crisis at the start of 2021.

Will County Small Business Assistance Grant Program

Small businesses have experienced unprecedented disruptions and financial challenges due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Will County recognizes its small businesses have struggled to pay bills, keep customers, and stay afloat while navigating through the uncertainties of this pandemic.

Will County has earmarked more than $24 million for a Small Business Assistance Grant Program to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 so they can maintain operations. Selected businesses may receive up to $15,000 in grant assistance.

Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Criteria:

More Program Information:

Apply Here

Applications will be accepted starting Monday, August 24. All applications must be received by Monday, September 28.

LISC Small Business Relief Grants

LISC Small Business Relief Grants are open and are intended for small businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19 with awards of $5,000 to $20,000.

The Round 6 application period is now open. Click here to apply. Your application must be completed by Monday, September 7th, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Before completing the application, review the Grant Information Overview and FAQ.  Please keep the following in mind:

  • For business owners with multiple businesses, please answer this survey based on your largest business owned.
  • Each awardee is limited to one grant.
  • Grants will be made to qualified businesses and based on accurate and complete submission and verification of required documentation.
  • This round of applications must be submitted by Monday, September 7th, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Finally, please join the Joliet Chamber Government Affairs Committee and Leslie Munger, former Illinois Comptroller, for an interactive virtual conference to discuss the Progressive Income Tax (a.k.a. “The Fair Tax”) including:

  • Discussion on removing the flat tax.
  • What will this proposal mean for most taxpayers?
  • Can retirement income now be taxed?
  • Will the Progressive Income Tax decrease the budget shortfalls, bill backlogs and unfunded pension liabilities?

You can register here to participate:

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

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