The number of Iowans filing weekly unemployment claims jumped to 53,868 in the week that ended on Saturday, a 38% increase from the previous week, Iowa Workforce Development reported today.

In addition, 10,747 Iowans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, double the number from the week that ended on Nov. 28 when 5,357 new claims were filed, according to the agency. 

The agency, in a news release, attributed the increase to claims from construction and manufacturing workers who were unemployed during the week of Thanksgiving. The increase in claims was not unexpected, the agency wrote in a news release. Iowa typically sees spikes in unemployment claims in November through February, due mostly to seasonal layoffs in construction, agriculture, landscaping and manufacturing, it wrote in the news release.

Forty percent of unemployed Iowans who filed claims last week indicated they lost their jobs for reasons related to COVID-19, the agency reported.

Additionally, the state agency reported that during the week that ended on Saturday:
• 23%, or 2,501, of the new claims were filed by people who worked in construction; another 12% or, 1,293, of new claims were filed by people who worked in manufacturing.
• $12.5 million in jobless benefits was paid out of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund. Since mid-March, Iowa has paid out more than $1.03 billion in unemployment claims from the fund.  
• $1.4 million was paid in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits, which were retroactive payments for the program that ended July 25. Since April 4, a total of $1.62 billion in benefits has been paid from the fund.
• $4 million was paid in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. Since April 13, $157.8 million has been paid from the fund.
• $8.5 million was paid in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. Since May 27, a total of $157.6 million in benefits has been paid from that fund.
• $52,456 was paid in State Extended Benefits. Since July 21, $17.6 million has been paid in extended benefits. The program ended on Oct. 31.

National data
New unemployment claims filed for week ending Dec. 5:
 853,000
People continuing to receive jobless benefits for week ending Nov. 28: 5.7 million
Advanced seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for week ending Nov. 28: 3.9%

Note: The continuing claims and unemployment rate lag by a week from initial claims filings.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

RELATED ARTICLE: Thousands of Iowans face loss of jobless benefits if federal stimulus bill stalls