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Iowa Workforce Development: Large chunk of jobless claims filed last week were unrelated to the pandemic

Continuing claims for the week were 35,660, a decrease of 1,322 (3.57%) from the previous week.

5,576 initial unemployment claims were filed last week in Iowa, an increase of 967 (20.98%) from the previous week.

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a sign that the job market might be slowly healing.

5,036 initial claims for the week of Nov. 1-7 were by people who work and live in Iowa, while 540 by individuals who work in Iowa but live outside the state.

$10,139,790.87 in unemployment insurance benefits were paid out last week, a decrease of $276,895.08 (2.66%) from the previous week.

Continuing claims for the week were 35,660, a decrease of 1,322 (3.57%) from the previous week.

"November through February are traditionally the months we see the most unemployment claims, driven by increased claims in construction, agriculture, landscaping and manufacturing due to seasonal layoffs," Iowa Workforce Development said in a release.

"For the week ending Nov. 7, 2020, nearly 45% of claimants indicated their claims were not COVID-19 related."

The following industries had the most claims, according to IWD:

  • Manufacturing (1,005)
  • Industry Not Available - Self-employed, Independent Contractors, etc (743)
  • Construction (634)
  • Health Care & Social Assistance (629)
  • Retail Trade (365)

Additional data released for last week:

  • $1,450,800 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits paid, which were retroactive payments as the program ended July 25, 2020. Since April 4, 2020, a total of $1,619,918,833 in FPUC benefits has been paid.
  • $3,621,167.53 paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Since April 13, 2020, a total of $143,275,764.92 in PUA benefits has been paid.
  • $8,129,629.97 in benefits has paid in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits. Since May 27, 2020, a total of $125,145,460.25 in PEUC benefits has been paid.
  • $1,625,662.53 paid in State Extended Benefits (EB). Since July 21, 2020, a total of $17,338,284.30 in State EB has been paid.

The United States Department of Labor has notified Iowa that due to the state's economic recovery, the State EB program will end the week ending October 31, 2020. EB cannot be paid to any claimant for weeks of unemployment after October 31, 2020, even if they have not yet received 13 weeks of EB. Those claimants who lose EB may be eligible for the PUA benefit program if they have remaining benefit weeks available in their current benefit year.  Claimants may apply for PUA at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/pua-information.

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