IWD Director Beth Townsend updates the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)
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DES MOINES, Iowa – The U.S. Department of Labor reported between Sunday, March 29, and Saturday, April 4, the number of unemployment claims in Iowa is 67,334. Of that number, 64,187 initial claims were by individuals who work and live in Iowa, and 3,147 claims by individuals who work in Iowa and live out of state. 

Since Gov. Kim Reynolds’ initial public health emergency declaration on March 17 that closed businesses considered “non-essential,” 161,102 unemployment claims have been filed and have grown each week. The first week saw 41,890 claims, and the second saw 58,453 claims filed. That number will continue to rise as Reynolds ordered additional closures on April 6.

Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced the number of continuing weekly unemployment claims is 92,962.

A total of $27,565,232.79 of unemployment insurance benefits were paid to claimants for the same week, more than doubled from the previous week.

The following industries had the most claims. 

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (9,632)
  • Manufacturing (9,218)
  • Retail Trade (8,088)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (7,123)
  • Construction (2,696)

Also, under the CARES Act, self-employed Iowans, gig workers, and non-profit employees can file for unemployment. IWD said they anticipate those claims will be paid next week. 

IWD had waived charges to employers accounts for COVID-19 related claims, but will not be able to sustain that much longer.

“Today we are announcing that we have put in place a trigger so that once the UI or the unemployment insurance trust fund reaches this balance, we will need to begin charging employers with these unemployment claims. That trigger is $950 million. We are currently at $1.13 billion in our trust fund, so about $180 million away from the trigger,” IWD Director Beth Townsend announced at a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa. 

She added that none of the benefits from the CARES Act would come out of the trust fund. 

“However, the overall balance strongly affects the federal tax table. I will employers will be in 2021. We are currently in tax table seven, and we believe setting this trigger will help to ensure we do not fall into tax table six. The tax tables affect the baseline tax rates for employers and is, therefore, key to helping minimize the impact of this event moving forward and spurring our recovery,” Townsend added.

Iowans can visit www.IowaWorkorceDevelopment.gov to file their initial and weekly unemployment insurance claim. Employers or claimants with questions can email IWD at uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov. Individuals can call at 1-866-239-0843. IWD warns wait times can be lengthy. They state their website contains videos, webinars, FAQs, and other forms of assistance for all of the different types of claims and programs, such as the most updated information on the CARES Act benefits and payments.

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