Seven Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES) offices are set to close due to a reduction in federal funding. IDES is almost 100 percent funded by the federal government. IDES offices are set to close in Centralia, DeKalb, East St. Louis, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Mattoon and Murphysboro, resulting in almost 200 workers losing their jobs.
IDES officials say the reduced funding and closures are a result of an improved economy.
"A recession touches IDES in the exact opposite way that it touches the business community. In the private sector, cost-cutting decisions are required at the beginning of a recession. At federally funded IDES, cost-cutting occurs when the recession has ended and the recovery is moving forward," IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a press release. "This difficult decision reflects smaller federal discretionary spending and undoubtedly is unwelcome in many corners of our state. I hope it will encourage individuals not already doing so to consider accessing our services through the internet. More than half of those applying for benefits do so electronically, and all eligible workers receive their benefit payments electronically through direct deposit or debit card."
According to IDES, people who will be most affected by the office closures are those who prefer face-to-face meetings with IDES staff as opposed to getting assistance online.
The IDES office closures are expected in mid-March.