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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance fell slightly last week — though they were higher than forecast — as the labor market meanders toward a full recovery.
Initial claims in regular state programs decreased by 7,000, to 411,000, in the week ended June 19, U.S. Department of Labor data showed Thursday. The previous week’s claims were revised up to 418,000.
Weekly unemployment claims have fallen considerably since the beginning of the year as health concerns abate and businesses like restaurants return to full capacity.
Still, the initial claims remain significantly higher than they were before the pandemic began and many employers say they are having trouble finding workers.
Continuing claims for ongoing state benefits fell by 144,000 in the week ended June 12 to 3.4 million.
In Iowa, new claims fell from 2,613 to 1,993, marking the first time the state had fewer than 2,000 new claims in a week since September 2019.
Continuing claims remained stagnant, rising slightly from 23,744 to 23,775.
Self-employed and independent contractors were the largest source of new claims, with 358, followed by manufacturing with 254, and construction with 151.
Five industry sectors had between 100 and 130 new claims.
In Linn County, new claims fell from 200 to 129, and continuing claims fell from 2,227 to 1,993.
Johnson County’s unemployment numbers remained almost exactly the same as the previous week. New claims went from 138 to 137, and continuing claims slipped from 1,012 to 1,007.
It was the first week since Iowa ended participation in federal unemployment programs.
Overall, 26 states will end federal programs before their official expiration date in September, which may start to bring continued claims figures down considerably in the coming weeks.