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Iowa Workforce Development has confirmed it has reduced the amount of data available to the public regarding weekly unemployment claims.
The amount of money spent on weekly jobless benefits — both through standard state benefits and the federal programs — no longer is available, a spokeswoman told The Gazette
However, IWD also has stopped releasing the percentage of new claims related to the novel coronavirus.
This data had been released every Thursday during the pandemic through May 13.
In its May 13 news release, IWD said it issued about $34.3 million in state and federal unemployment programs. About 47.8 percent of new claims were related to coronavirus.
The last news release with unemployment information added the number of claimants for the federal unemployment programs for the first time.
The number of people filing for the federal unemployment program was more than 14,000 higher than the number of people included in the combined number of new and continuing claims.
A message on IWD’s website says unemployment data “remains available here and is updated regularly.” However, the website shows less data than what was previously released.
The state’s initial and continuing claim numbers, county-specific claim numbers and new claims by industry remain available. Monthly totals for benefits paid also are listed there.
Agency spokeswoman Molly Elder did not answer a question from The Gazette about what prompted the agency to provide less information.
Pat Garrett, spokesman for the Governor’s Office, also did not immediately respond to The Gazette’s question about what led to the IWD’s decision.
Rick Moyle, the executive director of the Hawkeye Area Labor Council AFL-CIO, opposed the reduction in publicly available information “for the sake of transparency.”
“The people of Iowa should always be 100 percent informed on all matters pertaining to Iowa workforce numbers,” Moyle said in an email, “though the tactic of keeping Iowans in the dark on many matters seems to be a common practice by the Reynolds administration.”
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