State Unemployment Tops 10 Percent; Federal Money Aiding State Payouts

Statewide Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is using emergency funds from the federal government to cover some of the increase in unemployment payouts. The latest data shows one in 10 Iowans in the workforce had been laid off and were getting unemployment checks in April. Reynolds had originally planned to increase SOME business taxes if the state unemployment trust fund used to pay those benefits dipped too far.

(as said) “We’re monitoring that on a weekly basis and then we’ll make a decision next week on how we’re going to move forward with handling the trigger and really monitoring what we’re going to do with the trust fund,” Reynolds says. “…because that impacts businesses.”

If the state’s unemployment trust fund dipped to 950 MILLION dollars, state officials had planned to increase taxes paid into the fund on businesses that laid people off. The governor did not indicate how much federal money they’ve used instead to avoid charging those taxes.

Iowa’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased to 10.2 percent in April. The state’s jobless rate was 2.7 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent in April.

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend says that April is the first month in which the real impact of the pandemic could be seen on Iowa’s unemployment rate. She says they remain hopeful that as the state is reopened and more people return to work, the rate will decrease quickly and this unprecedented rate will be a very temporary one.

She says,  “The silver lining in this month’s report is that over 1.5 million Iowans remained in the workforce despite the pandemic and this will do the most to decrease the recovery time. For Iowans returning to the workforce, we want to ensure employers and employees have the resources and information to help with this transition. If you have questions about returning to the workplace or the safety guidelines implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor, please review our FAQs and guidance on

The number of unemployed Iowans jumped to 175,300 in April from 56,600 in March.  The current estimate is 128,300 higher than the year-ago level of 47,000.

The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,536,200 in April. This figure was 129,200 less than March and 144,200 lower than one year ago.

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