Initial Unemployment Claims Up Last Week; Unemployment RATE Down Every Month Since April

Northwest Iowa — Initial unemployment claims were up again last week, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

The number of initial unemployment claims in Iowa, filed between Sunday, Nov. 15, and Saturday, Nov. 21, was 9,458, an increase of 3,466 from the previous week’s adjusted numbers. There were 8,720 initial claims by individuals who work and live in Iowa, and 738 claims by individuals who work in Iowa and live in another state. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 37,112, an increase of 2,310 from the previous week. November through February are traditionally the months IWD sees the most unemployment claims, driven by increased claims in construction, agriculture, landscaping and manufacturing due to seasonal layoffs. For the week ending Nov. 21, 2020, nearly 43.6% of claimants indicated their claims were not COVID-19 related.

The U.S. Department of Labor adjusted last week’s initial claim number to 5,992 (a decrease of 320) and continuing claims to 34,802 (a decrease of 440 for a total decrease of 760 overall). Iowa Workforce Development relies upon the weekly data released by the U.S. Department of Labor to report its numbers and as such, adopts the revisions to the previously published data.

For the week ending Nov. 21, 2020, unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled over $10 million. The following industries had the most claims:

Manufacturing (1,622)
Construction (1,271)
Industry Not Available – Self-employed, Independent Contractors, etc (1,245)
Health Care & Social Assistance (920)
Accommodation & Food Services (780)

As far as the unemployment rate, the latest statistics available are those for October, when the state rate fell to 3.6 percent, after a high this year of 11 percent in April. It’s been falling ever since.

Northwest Iowa continues to lead the state in low unemployment numbers. Lyon and Sioux Counties are tied for the lowest unemployment in October at 1.3 percent. Osceola County is third with 1.6. Mitchell and Decatur counties are tied for fourth with 1.7 percent, and then it’s Pocohantas with 1.8 percent for fifth, followed by several counties, including O’Brien County at 1.9 percent unemployment, tied for sixth place in October.