Nearly 41,000 Iowans last week filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, the highest number of new claims filed since at least 2000, state records show.

The state paid unemployment claims totaling more than $10.6 million, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

The filings are the first look at how a statewide shutdown of thousands of Iowa businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus is affecting the state’s economy.

The 40,952 new unemployment claims filed in the week that ended Saturday eclipses the 2,229 filed the previous week.

One-third of the new claims, or 13,364 were filed by people who worked in the hotel and food services industries, according to Iowa Workforce Development. Another 4,936 new claims were from people who worked in health care and social assistance related jobs.

Nationally, 3.28 million new unemployment claims were filed last week, up 3 million from the previous week. The number of initial seasonally adjusted claims filed last week is a high-water mark for the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor release. The previous high was 695,000 new claims filed during a week in October 1992. 

Last week, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, fitness centers and other businesses in the state. Others, like some retail stores, hotels and manufacturing plants, have shuttered their doors.

According to Iowa Workforce Development data, more than 300,785 Iowans are employed in three industries hardest hit by the closures: restaurants and bars, hotels and leisure, and retail.

Come back to BusinessRecord.com for more on this developing story.

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