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Iowa jobless claims below 84,000

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DES MOINES — Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Iowa rose slightly last week, but overall the number of Iowans requesting jobless assistance remained below 84,000.

Iowa Workforce Development officials on Thursday reported initial claims filed between Sunday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 15, totaled 6,544.

That included 5,828 filed by individuals who work and live in Iowa and 716 claims sought by non-residents.

The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 83,610 — a decrease of 8,490 from the previous week.

Initial claims reported on Aug. 13 were 5,282, and continuing claims at 92,853.

The U.S. Department of Labor adjusted last week’s initial claim number in Iowa down to 4,891 — a decrease of 391 — and lowered the total of continuing claims to 92,100 — a decrease of 753 for a total decline of 1,144 — according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Officials with the state agency said they rely on the weekly data released by the U.S. Labor Department to report their numbers and they also adopt the federal revisions to the previously published data.

Unemployment insurance benefit payments to jobless Iowans totaled $23,465,906 last week.

Industries with the most claims were manufacturing with 1,664, followed by a grouping of self-employed, independent contractors and others at 887.

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After that, health care and social assistance industries totaled 608, construction 449 and accommodation and food services establishments with 429 initial claims last week.

A total of $7,881,600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits was paid during the week of Aug. 9-15, which were retroactive payments as the program ended July 25. Since April 4, a total of $1,580,831,143 in FPUC benefits has been paid, according to Iowa Workforce Development officials.

Also, a total of $4,412,626 was paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits during the past week, and $3,912,116.39 in separate Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation were paid.

Since May 27, a total of $47,359,563 in PEUC benefits have been paid, Iowa Workforce Development officials reported.

On Aug. 14, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Iowa’s application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance program.

Iowans whose unemployment is the result of the pandemic, and who are eligible for at least $100 in benefits each week, will qualify for an additional $300 in weekly benefits retroactive to the week ending Aug. 1.

State officials say the federal agencies continue to issue guidance, and Iowa Workforce Development will continue developing the implementation process required for this program and update its website as additional information becomes available.

Since the announcement of the program approval, Iowa Workforce Development has seen an increase in initial and continuing claims as awareness of the benefits became more widely known. Officials anticipate this will be reflected in increased claim numbers next week.

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Individuals who have exhausted the additional 13 weeks of PEUC benefits may 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 benefits.

Those benefits may provide eligible claimants up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, officials said. However, not everyone who qualified for PEUC will be eligible for state extended benefits. Information is available at https://bit.ly/32eXpZ4.

Iowa Workforce Development previously had waived the work search requirement since the beginning of the pandemic, but this requirement will be reinstituted on Sept. 8, according to the agency.

Total jobless numbers do not reflect those who have stopped looking for work or who for some reason have cycled out of the system.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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