New unemployment claims in Iowa double in first week of December

Continuing claims see largest single-week increase since May

A #x201c;now hiring#x201d; sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie's Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Cora
A “now hiring” sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie’s Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville on Sept. 3. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

New unemployment claims in Iowa more than doubled between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, jumping from 5,357 to 10,747.

It’s the highest weekly total for new claims since the week of May 23.

Continuing claims also saw an increase, from 33,712 to 43,121 — the highest total since the week of Oct. 10 and the largest single-week increase since the week of May 9.

Iowa Workforce Development attributed the increases to a “not unexpected” wave of construction and manufacturing claims filed as a result of being out of work the week of Thanksgiving.

Construction had 2,501 claims — almost twice as many as the previous week — and manufacturing had 1,293 claims.

Other industries saw increases in claims as well. Self-employed and independent contractors recorded 1,036 claims, accommodation and food services had 960 claims, and administrative, support, waste-management and remediation services had 891 claims.

About 59 percent of claimants said their unemployment was not coronavirus-related.

The claims resulted in $12.6 million in standard unemployment benefits, $8.5 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and $4 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Iowans also received $1.5 million in retroactive payments from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that expired at the end of July.

These numbers are preliminary and have yet to be adjusted by the U.S. Department of Labor.


They also only include people actively seeking work and therefore do not fully count how many Iowans actually are out of work.

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