Iowa reports nearly 42,000 new jobless claims in one week

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(KWQC) - Iowa Workforce Development reported Thursday that 41,890 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed between March 15 and 21.

That’s up from 2,229 reported the previous week. The number includes 938 claims filed by individuals who work in Iowa but live out of state.

This is the first time period that reflects the increased number of claims filed related to the new COVID-19, including the broader group of individuals eligible for claims due to the virus, the agency said.

More than $10.6 million in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Iowas for the week ending on March 20.

The agency said the top five industries with the most COVID-19 related claims in that time period are:

- Accommodation and food services, 13,364
- Health care and social assistance, 4,936
- Education services 2,698
- Other services, 1,999
- Retail trade, 1,710

Iowa Workforce Development says it successfully processed all of the initial unemployment insurance claims received in this time frame despite the significant surge in claims.

Claimants can visit www.iowaworkorcedevelopment.gov to file for their initial and weekly unemployment insurance claim. While there, claimants will be able to get information regarding unemployment insurance eligibility and receive the latest updated information.

Iowa Workforce Development is receiving an unprecedented level of calls and we have several hundred staff answering those calls each day.

However, long waits are resulting from the surge and many of the questions can be answered by the information contained on the website.

“We ask everyone to be patient when calling and to consider looking to the website first for answers to their questions,” the agency said Thursday. “We will continue to provide as much assistance as possible to our fellow Iowans to ensure everyone who is eligible for benefits, receive those benefits in a timely basis."

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday that Iowa Workforce Development increased the capacity of its mainframe and redeveloped its field office staff to work in the call center so they can process more claims.

Approximately 250 are now answering calls for Iowans who need them, Reynolds said.

Visit www.iowalmi.gov/unemployment-insurance-statistics for more information on the total data for this week’s unemployment claims.