The drop in the state unemployment rate is going to impact the benefits available to those who are out of work. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the change involves those who have been out of a job the longest.
Traditional state unemployment benefits are 26 weeks, and the federal government can add extended unemployment, or tiers when there is a recession. Iowa has had three tiers of extended benefits adding up to 72 weeks. The formula used by the federal government shows that Iowa is no longer eligible for that last tier.
“It has a qualifier on it that says the state’s average three-month unemployment rate has to be at 6% or above. With our significant drop that we took last month, we are now below that, we’re at 5.9% for our three month average,” Koonce says. So beginning January 14th, Iowans will no longer be able to move from tier two to the tier three unemployment extension.
Koonce says if you are already on tier three, you will still get the benefits you are due, but no new tier three benefits will be available. Iowa’s jobless rate is one of the lowest in the nation.
“We have about the sixth lowest unemployment rate I think right now for all the states, you’d have to do an averaging of it, but there’s probably 6 to 10 states that are in that mix,” according to Koonce. The change will impact around 4,200 individuals in the first quarter of 2012.