The number of unemployment claims filed by Iowans last week slipped 7.2% from the previous week but likely doesn’t include thousands of workers affected by a state order that closed bars, breweries and wineries in six of the state’s counties. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds last week ordered drinking establishments closed in Polk, Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn and Story counties until at least Sept. 20. She also ordered restaurants in those counties to stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

The order, which went into effect at 5 p.m. on Aug. 27, was issued in reaction to a spike in new novel coronavirus cases, particularly among those between 19 and 24 years old.

According to the Iowa Restaurant Association, the state-ordered shutdown in the six counties affects 273 bars, 29 breweries, 16 wineries and four distilleries. If the establishments each employed 20 people, more than 6,400 workers would have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, last week. Many of those workers would be eligible to file unemployment this week.

Some bars in Polk and Dallas counties have asked the courts to issue a temporary injunction against the order. A Polk County judge has indicated he will issue a decision on Friday. 

The 83,209 unemployment claims filed through Saturday was the lowest number since the week that ended March 28 when 68,386 claims were filed, data from Iowa Workforce Development shows.

Data released today by the state agency today also shows that in the week that ended on Saturday:
• $21.6 million in jobless benefits was paid out of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund. Since mid-March, Iowa has paid out more than $849.2 million in unemployment claims.
• $5.46 million was paid from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation fund. Since April 4, $1.59 billion in additional benefits has been paid to Iowans from the federal fund.  
• $4.29 million was paid to self-employed Iowans through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund. Since late April, more than $106.4 million has been paid to Iowans from the fund.
• $4.8 million was paid from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation to Iowans whose unemployment insurance has run out. Since May 27, when the program began, out-of-work Iowans have received $56.6 million from the fund.
• $883,145 was paid in State Extended Benefits. Since July 21, $4.48 million has been paid in extended benefits.

At the start of the pandemic, Iowa Workforce waived the work search requirement. That requirement, however, will be reinstated beginning on Tuesday, the agency has announced.

However, not all of those who filed unemployment claims will be required to begin job searches. For example, those who are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits because of a medical condition or lack of child care won’t be required to search for a job, the agency said in a release.

Nationally, 881,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week, a decrease of 130,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

In addition, the department reported that the number of people receiving jobless benefits for the week ending Aug. 22 declined to 13.2 million. The advanced seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending Aug. 22 was 9.1%, according to the labor department. The continuing claims and unemployment rate lag by a week from initial claims filings.