CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois is making a dent toward the state’s unemployment insurance loan.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that $450 million is going toward the remaining $1.8 billion borrowed under Title XII of the Social Security Act.

It is the second contribution of the Pritzker administration to the outstanding loan balance.

Pritzker signed legislation in March 2022 that allocated $2.7 billion from the American Rescue Plan recovery funds to the unemployment trust fund. The original loan balance of $4.5 billion was reduced to $1.8 billion as a result of this payment.

“This contribution is direct evidence of labor market strength in Illinois,” said Pritzker. “With unemployment claims levels continuing to reach historic lows, the State’s Unemployment Trust Fund is able to contribute to the loan repayment and save Illinois taxpayers in interest costs.”

This payment can be made by the unemployment insurance trust fund without affecting the department’s ability to pay benefits due to low unemployment insurance claims.

“This contribution is another significant step toward paying down the federal loan,” said IDES Director Kristin Richards. “The Department will continue to work with business and labor representatives through the agreed bill process to support this critical resource.”

 “Today’s announcement reflects continued growth in our economy. Just last week, my office announced that statewide payroll jobs are up compared to a year ago. We are seeing significant gains in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities industries.” said  Richards.

Richards also says the department has also seen decreases in unemployment in over 90 counties across Illinois.