Iowa saw a record number of people file for unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Iowa Workforce Development reports there were 58,435 COVID-19 unemployment claims filed between March 22 and 28th. More than 12,000 of those claims came in the food, hotel, and related services area. Health care and manufacturing each saw more than 7,000 claims, and there were nearly 6,000 in the retail sector.
The latest claims come after IWD reported nearly 41,890 unemployment claims last week. Iowa State University economist David Swenson says that far outpaces unemployment during the Great Recession.
“Iowa’s unemployment peaked in 2010 and that was 47,000 unemployed persons, so this is more than twice as much,” Swenson says. Swenson says the total number of people who have lost jobs is likely even larger because not all workers who are laid off apply for unemployment.
The state paid nearly $14 million in unemployment claims in the last week.
Most claims come from businesses that were forced to shut down or limit their operations under the governor’s health emergency declaration. Swenson says losses in areas like manufacturing are likely to follow. “Over the course of this coronavirus outbreak, we will expect to see also other impacts as this spreads into other industries,” according to Swenson. The federal CARES Act passed last week adds an additional $600 each week to unemployment payments made by states. It also makes more workers eligible, including people who are self-employed.
Information on the IWD website says CARES Act benefits are not yet available and “IWD is awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.” But the agency says it is accepting applications for the CARES Act benefits, and those claims will be processed as soon as IWD receives additional guidance.
(Grant Gerlock of Iowa Public Radio contributed to this story.)