A survey of unemployed Iowans by the state agency in charge of helping them find new jobs finds many have been out of a job for longer then average. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says they sent surveys to 2,000 unemployed across the state and got responses back from about 30%.
“Seventy-six-percent of the people (who) responded had been unemployed for over half a year,” Koonce says, “And Iowa typically is one of the states that gets people off of unemployment quickly. We have an average — not in a recession time, in a good time — of about 10 weeks, which is very low compared to a lot of states.” Koonce says the long time without a job is really impacting people and taking its tool in “stress and financially and things like that.”
Koonce says the federal extensions of unemployment payments have allowed some to collect for 73 weeks, which she says has helped. But Koonce says the unemployment hasn’t filled all the need. Koonce says 72% of the people in their survey had to use savings or retirement funds to make ends meet.
“And of course that hurts your long-term stability when you have to do that,” Koonce says. She says the people have had to put off things they would normally have done and made “significant adjustments” to their budgets. While the recession is believed to be over, Koonce says the impact of the time spent without a job will last for some time.
Koonce says a lot of people don’t see their finances getting better in the near future, even if they get a new job, they will need time to rebuild some of what they have lost. Koonce says their survey found that some of the people are looking at different options in trying to find another job.
Koonce says over 23% of the people said they had taken a class or training course to get new skills or change careers. She says that is important as the manufacturing industry was the hardest hit during the recession, with many businesses closing, so their employees will have to retrain and “re-skill” for new jobs. Koonce says during the height of the recession, over 8,000individuals were filing initial claims for unemployment benefits, more than double of typical filings.
To see the full survey visit the “Announcement Section” at:www.iowaworkforce.org.