A record 206,051 Iowans last week filed unemployment claims, the most ever in the state, new data from Iowa Workforce Development shows.

The more than 206,000 jobless claims filed during the week that ended May 2 eclipses the 196,191 recorded the previous week. The number of claims is substantially higher than the more than 76,000 who filed claims during one week in the Great Recession. 

Last week’s high-water mark comes as Iowa begins to allow shuttered businesses to reopen. On May 1, some businesses in 77 Iowa counties were allowed to reopen with certain restrictions including limiting the number of customers to 50% of an establishment’s capacity. Beginning Friday, dental services statewide can reopen and campgrounds, drive-in theaters and other businesses can reopen as long as certain restrictions are met.   

In addition, a new proclamation issued by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds allows some businesses, including malls, in the state’s other 22 counties to reopen on Friday. 

The shutdown had been ordered in mid-March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The reopenings may mean some laid-off workers will be recalled, a move that would begin to lower the number of jobless workers in the state.

The new jobless data released today by Iowa Workforce Development shows: 

  • 24,693 new jobless claims were filed during the week ending May 2. The number is 9.2% fewer than the 27,200 new claims filed the previous week.
  • 6,053 people who worked in manufacturing filed first-time jobless claims last week. Since the start of the statewide shutdown, 17%, or 44,234, of the newly jobless have been from the accommodation and food service industries; 16.6%, or 43,498, have been self-employed or independent contractors; and 15.2% have been from the health care and social assistance industries.
  • $50.9 million in jobless benefits was paid out of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund.  
  • $111.3 million was paid to 164,088 Iowans from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation fund that was part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package. Since April 4, $439.1 million in additional benefits has been paid to Iowans from the federal fund. The additional benefit is $600 a week.
  • $10 million was paid to 15,612 self-employed Iowans through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund.

Nationally, 3.16 million new unemployment claims were filed last week, down from the previous week when more than 4.4 million new claims were filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The advance seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending April 15 was 15.5%, according to the labor department.

Related: Experts say leisure, hospitality will be slowest to recover from pandemic