Business

Iowa sees decrease in unemployment claims in first week of September

Work search requirement reinstated, Lost Wages Assistance ends

An Heartland Workforce Solutions employee speaks with a job seeker outside the workforce office in Omaha, Neb., in July.
An Heartland Workforce Solutions employee speaks with a job seeker outside the workforce office in Omaha, Neb., in July. (Associated Press)

Statewide unemployment claim numbers decreased again in the first week of September, bringing total claims down to 77,333 — even as national figures remained at a high of 884,000.

New claims in Iowa reported on Thursday dropped from 5,914 to 5,689, the fewest since the week before the Aug. 10 derecho storm hit portions of the state.

Continuing claims went from 75,877 to 71,644, marking the sixth time in the past seven weeks that continuing claims decreased.

Manufacturing remains the largest source of unemployment claims, with 1,311, followed by self-employed and independent contractors at 682, accommodation and food services at 565, health care and social assistance at 490, and construction at 385.

Iowa Workforce Development issued $20.2 million in standard unemployment benefits.

Iowans received another $4.2 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, $5 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and $1 million in State Extended Benefits.

The additional $600 per week from the federal CARES Act expired at the end of July, but residents received $4.5 million in retroactive payments last week.

Iowa Workforce Development has reinstated the work-search requirement, with exceptions for people who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance because of health conditions or lack of child care.

IowaWORKS offices are providing “limited in-person services” to those seeking work.

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Iowa also received notice that the Lost Wages Assistance program — which gives an additional $300 per week to those unable to work because of coronavirus — has ended. Eligible individuals will receive a maximum of six weeks of benefits — $1,800 — in the next two to three weeks.

These numbers include only Iowans actively seeking work and do not count those who have dropped out of the system or who have stopped seeking employment.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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