The number of Iowans who filed unemployment claims last week slipped to 169,061, new state data shows. Source: Iowa Workforce Development

The amount of money paid out of Iowa’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund last week fell to $40.5 million, the lowest weekly amount paid since mid-April, according to information released today by Iowa Workforce Development.

The decline provides some relief to the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund, which currently has a balance of $826.35 million, according to state officials. 

The trust fund’s balance has dropped 34% since Jan. 1, when it sat at $1.26 billion. In May, an analyst for the state’s Legislative Services Agency estimated that the state could continue paying unemployment claims for about 30 weeks if the amount paid to unemployed Iowans each week stayed at around $50 million.

So far in 2020, the state has paid more than $624 million in unemployment benefits to jobless Iowans, Iowa Workforce Development data shows. Since 2000, the highest yearly amount paid in unemployment claims was in 2009 when $788 million was paid to jobless Iowans, state records show.

The state is on track to exceed that amount this year. 

In mid-March, many of the state’s retail and hospitality businesses were ordered closed in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The temporary closures resulted in thousands of Iowans being laid off from their jobs. State officials have said the number of jobless Iowans will decline as businesses reopen.

Other highlights from today’s state unemployment report:
• 10,112 Iowans filed first-time unemployment claims during the week that ended on Saturday, a 55% spike from the previous week. However, the number of Iowans who filed continuing claims dropped 13% from the previous week, to 159,966.
• $99.1 million was paid last week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation fund that was part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package. Since April 4, $865.9 million in additional benefits has been paid to Iowans from the federal fund. The additional benefit is $600 a week.
• $5.9 million was paid to self-employed Iowans through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund.
• $3.7 million was paid to Iowans through the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation fund, established to provide assistance to people no longer eligible to receive state unemployment. Since May 27, $11.2 million has been paid to Iowans from the fund.

Nationally, 1.5 million new unemployment claims were filed last week, down from the previous week when more than 1.8 million new claims were filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The advance seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending May 30 was 14.4%, according to the labor department.