New jobless claims rise nearly 21% in Iowa

    Pandemic-related unemployment is adding to seasonal layoffs in Iowa. (Photo by Getty Images)

    New unemployment claims rose nearly 21% in Iowa for the week of Nov. 8, compared to the previous week’s adjusted data, Iowa Workforce Development reported Thursday.

    The department also announced that it is suspending in-person services at IowaWORKS centers due to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent COVID-19 emergency proclamation. The department and IowaWORKS centers will also be closed Nov. 25-27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Iowans can receive assistance by visiting the website or calling 866-239-0843.

    The number of new jobless claims filed between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14 was 6,312, an increase of 1,095 from the previous week’s adjusted numbers. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims remained steady at 35,242, an increase of only 29 from the previous week.

    Just over 44% of the claimants indicated that their claims were not related to COVID-19, Iowa Workforce Development stated in its news release, which also noted that jobless claims typically rise between November and February due to seasonal layoffs.

    Unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled $9.58 million last week. The following industries had the most claims:

    ●      Manufacturing (1,177)

    ●      Construction (945)

    ●      Industry not available: self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (771)

    ●      Health care and social assistance (676)

    ●      Accommodation and food services (418)

    Just over $1 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits was paid. These were retroactive payments as the program ended July 25.  Since April 4, a total of $1.632 billion in FPUC benefits has been paid.

    Nearly $3.4 million was paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Since April 13, over $146 million in PUA benefits has been paid.

    Just over $8 million in benefits has been paid in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits. Since May 27, more than $133 million in PEUC benefits have been paid.

    Just over $86,125 was paid in State Extended Benefits (EB).  Since July 21, a total of $17.4 million in State EB has been paid. The State EB program ended the week ending Oct. 31, 2020.

    Kathie Obradovich
    Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs. She has led national-award-winning coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and the Register’s Iowa Poll.