Unemployment claims rise as seasonal workers lose jobs in Iowa

    November and December are traditionally a time where Iowa sees an increase in unemployment claims due to the end of harvest. Construction, agriculture and landscaping companies very often lay off some of their workforce after October. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    The number of newly filed unemployment claims filed rose last week from 4,351 the previous week to 4,964 — an increase of 14%.

    The number of ongoing, weekly unemployment claims for the week ending Oct. 31 totaled 37,290, a decrease of 2,535 from the previous week.

    State officials noted that November and December are traditionally a time where Iowa sees an increase in unemployment claims due to the end of harvest. Construction, agriculture and landscaping companies very often lay off some of their workforce after October.

    Unemployment insurance benefit payments in Iowa totaled $10,416,686 for the week ending Oct. 31.

    The following industries had the most claims:

    • Manufacturing: 1,227
    • Construction: 693
    • Self-employed, independent contractors: 593
    • Health care and social assistance: 441
    • Administrative support, waste management, and remediation services: 294

    A total of $1,629,000 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits was paid out the week ending Oct. 31, which were retroactive payments since the program ended July 25. A total of $3,586,510 was paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.

    A total of $1,532,251.87 was paid in State Extended Benefits (EB) the week ending Oct. 31.  Since July 21, a total of $15.7 million in those benefits has been paid out. The State EB program has now ended. Those benefits cannot be paid to any claimant for weeks of unemployment after Oct. 31, even if they have not yet received the full 13 weeks of benefits under that program. Claimants who lose EB may be eligible for the PUA benefit program, and can apply at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/pua-information.

    In other unemployment news, Iowa Workforce Development has reinstated its work-search requirement for those collecting unemployment. People who will be required to begin work searches will be notified by IWD.  Not all claimants will be required to begin work searches, including for example, those who are receiving PUA benefits due to a medical condition or a lack of childcare.

    Employees and employers who have questions regarding returning to work should review the Frequently Asked Questions for each group on our website.  Assistance for employers can be found here: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/sites/search.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/files/content-files/FAQs%20Employers%2009.3.20.pdf

    Employees can find assistance here: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/sites/search.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/files/content-files/FAQs%20Workers%2009.10.20.pdf

     

    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.