Employment rate grows in Iowa after state ends $300 unemployment benefit

Employment rate grows in Iowa after state ends $300 unemployment benefit
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:08 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The extra $300 pandemic unemployment benefit ended Monday nationwide.

In Iowa, the boost was ended by Gov. Kim Reynolds June 12 and since then Iowa Workforce Development said the employment rate has increased in the state, but worker shortages remain for many industries.

From bus drivers to restaurant and hospitality to manufacturing jobs, businesses are hiring.

According to Iowa Workforce Development, although it’s still too early to know the complete impact of ending the benefits early, more people are looking for jobs since the state ended the benefits. The number of people looking for work at an unemployment office increased by 1,183 or 23%.

“We actually have kind of started to improve a little bit after the unemployment extra money got shut off,” Kathi Corbett, General Manager for the Durham bus location in Davenport, said.

Reynolds made the decision to end the benefits early, citing a strong labor market, recovering economy, and as an effort to address the state’s workforce shortage.

Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.1% in July from 4% in June, but the state’s jobless rate was 6.1% one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,593,600 in July, which is 55,400 higher than July 2020 and 5,700 more than June 2021.

The office also reports the number of unemployed Iowans looking for work rose by 800, resulting in Iowa’s labor force participation rate increasing from 66.6% in June to 66.9%.

Although Arconic in Riverdale isn’t seeing a widespread worker shortage like some industries, they are offering signing bonuses in as much as $5,000 to fill some positions.

“Our electricians, general mechanics, truck repair positions. Things like that that require a journey level card typically,” Marguerite Tomlin, Internal Communications Specialist for Arconic, said.

The company can’t say it’s completely pandemic related, but is hoping the extra incentive might attract more applicants to fill their open positions.

“A lot of people in the area are hiring. Particularly with these positions. Since it’s ones we’ve struggled to fill in the past, we kind of increased,” Tomlin said.

Arconic is hosting a job fair Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Arconic Learning Center, across the street from the main plant.

The unemployment rate in Illinois fell to 7.1% in July, down from 11% in July 2020.

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