DES MOINES, IOWA (January 14, 2021) — The number of initial unemployment claims in Iowa, filed between Sunday, January 3, and Saturday, January 9, was 7,638, a decrease of 217 from last week’s adjusted numbers. There were 7,022 initial claims by individuals who work and live in Iowa, and 616 claims by individuals who work in Iowa and live in another state. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 49,451, an increase of 6,286 from the previous week. November through February are typically 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 January 9, 2021, nearly 68.3% of claimants indicated their claims were not COVID-19 related, which is a decrease from 68.6% the previous week.

The US Department of Labor adjusted last week’s initial claim number to 7,855 (a decrease of 381) and continuing claims to 43,165 (a decrease of 736 for a total decrease of 1,117 overall). Iowa Workforce Development relies upon the weekly data released by the US Department of Labor to report its numbers and as such, adopts the revisions to the previously published data.

IowaWORKS Centers are not providing in-person services. Customers are encouraged to log onto or the mobile application to continue their work search activities. Further assistance can also be received by visiting the website or calling customer service.

On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021, reauthorizing and extending the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The CAA also created the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program. IWD has received the implementing guidance from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), and is now working on the extensive system programming needed to distribute payments to eligible claimants. There is no need to call or reapply for these programs. Please call customer service only if you have questions about filing for unemployment benefits. Claimants who have questions about their claim status or benefit payments should e-mail

For the week ending January 9, 2021, unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled $15,638,255.25. The following industries had the most claims:

  •     Construction (2,014)
  •     Manufacturing (1,397)
  •     Industry Not Available — Self-employed, Independent Contractors, etc (593)
  •     Retail Trade (560)
  •     Administrative, Support, Waste Management, and Remediation Services (529)

A total of $889,200 in FPUC benefits was paid, which were retroactive payments as the program ended July 25, 2020. Since April 4, 2020, a total of $1,629,592,633 in FPUC benefits has been paid.

A total of $4,394,210 was paid in PUA benefits. Since April 13, 2020, a total of $179,171,319.54 in PUA benefits has been paid.

A total of $5,536,189.19 in benefits has been paid in PEUC benefits. Since May 27, 2020, a total of $191,421,463.04 in PEUC benefits have been paid.

Claimants receiving unemployment are required to perform weekly work searches. Those who will be required to begin work searches will be notified by IWD.  We have also posted updates on our website regarding this requirement. There are currently almost 61,000 job openings at Not all claimants will be required to begin work searches, including for example, those who are receiving PUA benefits due to a medical condition or lack of childcare.

On January 27, 2021, Iowa Workforce Development will transition from Bank of America unemployment debit card payments to the US Bank ReliaCard®. This change only affects those who have opted for an unemployment insurance debit card versus unemployment insurance direct deposit. Claimants who are currently using the Bank of America Debit Card to receive unemployment insurance benefits will be contacted by US Bank in the coming weeks by mail.

Employers are required to notify their employees about Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in accordance with Iowa Administrative Code Section 871-22.19. The requirement ensures that workers are aware of the benefits they may be eligible for if they become unemployed or experience a reduction in hours.

Employees and employers who have questions regarding returning to work should review the Frequently Asked Questions for each group on our website. Assistance for employers can be found here:

Employees can find assistance here:

For more information on the total data for this week’s unemployment claims, please visit

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