Employers report 15,600 job cuts to state in June

Notices are supposed to be made 60 days in advance, but many companies reported layoffs that started in March.

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The coronavirus-related shutdown of activity at McCormick Place has forced hotels, restaurants and caterers to report layoffs.

Sun-Times Media

Illinois employers in June notified the state of layoffs involving 15,600 people, the highest monthly total since the start of the coronavirus.

Dominating the list of job cuts were hotels, casinos, restaurants and caterers, all areas hit hard when the pandemic took hold in the Chicago area during March. The layoff notices are supposed to come at least 60 days in advance of any cuts, but many employers appeared to be playing catch-up, listing reductions that they said began in March. Many described the layoffs as temporary.

Prominent on the list was the Hyatt hotel chain, run by the Pritzker family, which detailed layoffs for its Hyatt Regency hotels downtown, at McCormick Place and at O’Hare Airport. Among the many other hotel chains cutting jobs here were Renaissance, Marriott, Westin and Hilton.

The Hollywood casinos in Joliet and Aurora reported layoffs, as did Argosy Casino in Alton.

The largest layoff at a single location was 990 at SMG Food & Beverage, located near McCormick Place and with a business that depends on conventions, which have been shut down. SMG told state officials the layoffs would be temporary.

Units of Levy Premium Foodservice, whose clients include the United Center and Guaranteed Rate Field, reported cutbacks involving nearly 1,700 employees. It said most would stay on with a 50% reduction in hours.

The restaurant and performance space City Winery said it is cutting 166 employees and Mike Ditka’s Chicago restaurant, which has closed, reported laying off 70 people.

The need for cutbacks spread to exclusive operations such as the Union League Club of Chicago, which laid off 175, and the University Club of Chicago, which laid off 78.

The Broadway in Chicago operation, which books and promotes shows here, said it was cutting 215 people temporarily for a period that may extend beyond six months.

Called WARN notices because they are required by the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the advisories are provided to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The agency publicly posts them monthly.

State officials said the totals from the WARN reports do not necessarily indicate a worsening economic situation, as they are a snapshot of company notices from a single month and some of the layoffs occurred earlier. The statewide unemployment rate was 15.2% in May, compared with 17.2% in April. June’s result is due to be issued July 17.

DCEO also said it has employed “rapid response teams” to connect dislocated workers with the resources they need, having partnered with more than 290 companies reporting more than 43,000 layoffs since March.

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