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

The number of Iowans who filed unemployment claims last week dropped to its lowest level since mid-April, new data released today by Iowa Workforce Development shows.

During the week that ended on Saturday, 164,268 Iowans filed unemployment claims, the state agency reported. The number of filings includes 9,516 initial claims filed last week, a slight increase over the previous week.

In mid-March, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered many of the state’s retail and entertainment businesses closed in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The forced closures resulted in thousands of Iowans who were laid off from their jobs filing unemployment claims. During the week that ended May 9, a record 206,668 people filed unemployment claims.

Since then, as the state began allowing businesses to reopen, the number of unemployment claims filed each week has declined.

A report issued today by Wallethub.com shows that Iowa is among the states whose workforces are experiencing the quickest recovery from COVID-19-related layoffs. Iowa has the 14th-quickest recovery since the start of the pandemic, according to the report. Workers in Connecticut are being recalled at the fastest pace nationwide; Georgia workers are being recalled at the slowest pace, the report shows.

Data released by Iowa Workforce Development for the week that ended on Saturday also shows:

  • 2,160 people who worked in manufacturing filed first-time jobless claims. Since mid-March, 25%, or 61,702, of the newly jobless have been from the manufacturing sector. In addition, 21%, or 52,616, of first-time filers have been self-employed or independent contractors, and 20%, or 48,990, have been from the accommodation and food services industries.
  • $37.9 million in jobless benefits was paid out of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund. Since mid-March, Iowa has paid out nearly $522.5 million in unemployment claims.
  • $94.7 million was paid from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation fund that was part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package. Since April 4, $960.7 million in additional benefits has been paid to Iowans from the federal fund. The additional benefit is $600 a week.
  • $6.2 million was paid to self-employed Iowans through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund.
  • $3.4 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, $14.6 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 1.56 million new claims were filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

More than 20.5 million people received jobless benefits for the week ending June 6, the department reported. The advanced seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending June 6 was 14.1%. The continuing claims and unemployment rate lag by a week from initial claims filings.