Iowa unemployment filings continue to decline

    Downtown Des Moines (Photo by Perry Beeman, Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    Iowa workers filed 7,441 initial unemployment cases in the week ending July 25, down 15.5% from the adjusted total of 8,811 for the previous week, Iowa Workforce Development reported. 

    The number of cases has been elevated during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses lay off staff members during the economic downtown. Before the pandemic, initial filings ranged from 1,000 to 3,000. In April, as the pandemic worsened, they peaked at 64,194 in one week.

    The Associated Press reported the U.S. economy shrank 33% in the April through June quarter, the worst quarterly drop on record. National unemployment rose to 14.7%, AP reported.

    In Iowa, 110,960 people filed continuing weekly unemployment claims in the most recent week. That was down from an adjusted 115,930 the week before. 

    The U.S. Department of Labor adjusted the previous week’s filing numbers, saying 1,574 fewer workers had filed unemployment claims. 

    The $31.8 million in benefits paid in Iowa included these industries with the most claims: 

    • Manufacturing (1,850)
    • Self-employed, independent contractors(1,154)
    • Health care and social assistance (693)
    • Education services (517)
    • Accommodation and food services (472)

    The state paid $83.8 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, $5.2 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and $3.8 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

    State officials noted the $600 in extra unemployment pay through a federal program expires at the end of July. Congress is debating a new bill that could include added unemployment benefits again.

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.