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Unemployment claims and benefits continue to drop in Iowa

By: - August 13, 2020 9:55 am

An Iowa nursing home worker who was fired after refusing to let a visitor enter the building due to COVID-19 restrictions has been awarded jobless benefits for keeping residents of the home safe. (Photo by Getty Images)

The number of newly filed claims for unemployment benefits dropped again in Iowa last week, from 6,765 to 5,282.

Both numbers reflect the totals prior to adjustments made by the U.S. Department of Labor. The previous week’s adjusted total of new claims is 6,317.

The number of ongoing, weekly unemployment claims for the week ending Aug. 8 was 92,853, a decrease of 11,463 from the previous week’s adjusted total of 104,316.

As in all states, Iowa’s number of unemployment cases remains elevated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 $27,031,323 in benefits paid in Iowa last week included these industries with the most claims:

  • Manufacturing: 1,132
  • Self-employed, independent contractors: 539
  • Health care and social assistance: 514
  • Retail: 421
  • Accommodation and food service: 373

A total of $13,876,200 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits, and a total of $5,150,688 was paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits was paid during the week ending Aug. 8.

A total of $4,026,981 in benefits was paid in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits for that same week.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits ended July 25th in Iowa, which means the $600 weekly additional benefit stopped.

Claimants are now seeing a corresponding decrease in their weekly benefit amount, but those who have exhausted the additional 13 weeks of PEUC benefits may now be eligible for State Extended Benefits announced in June.

Claimants should continue to file weekly claims so that their claims can be reviewed to determine eligibility for State Extended Benefits.

Those benefits may provide eligible claimants up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, though not everyone who qualified for PEUC is eligible for State Extended Benefits.

On Aug. 8, President Trump signed an order authorizing additional payments for some individuals receiving unemployment benefits. Iowa Workforce Development is not yet able to say what these benefits will mean to individual Iowans, but the agency says it will update its website as warranted.

 

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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