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The number of unemployed Iowans increased more than 28% in March, from 49,300 to 63,500, state officials reported Friday.
Iowa’s unemployment rate was 3.7% in March, an increase of 1 full percentage point over the same period a year ago. The national unemployment rate rose to 4.4% in March.
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend noted that the unemployment data for March “only reflects the very beginning of the impact” of the unprecedented loss of jobs triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The jobless rate for the month of April will be more indicative of the current jobless situation, Townsend said.
Workers filed 43,862 initial unemployment claims in Iowa during the second week of April, which was a drop of 23,472 from the week before. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of new unemployment claims in Iowa had ranged between 2,000 and 5,000 a week.
Over the past 12 months, Iowa has lost 7,100 jobs.
Townsend noted that there were 1.67 million Iowans who were still employed last month. “There are dozens of employers looking for workers now,” she said, adding that Iowans who are currently unemployed can see the opportunities available at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov.
The total number of non-farm jobs in Iowa dropped by 3,500 in March. Jobs in the accommodation and food-service industry dropped by 1,600 in March.
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