DES MOINES - The number of initial claims filed between Sunday, March 15, and Saturday, March 21, (the first time period that reflects the increased number of claims filed related to COVID-19, including the broader group of individuals eligible for claims due to the virus) was 40,952. The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19 will be available in next Thursday's release. A total of $10,674,711.86 of unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Iowans for the week ending on March 20.

The top five industries with the most COVID-19 related claims in that time period are as follows: 

  • Accommodation and Food Services (13,364)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance (4,936)
  • Education Services (2,698)  
  • Other Services (1,999)
  • Retail Trade (1,710)  

Iowa Workforce Development successfully processed all of the initial unemployment insurance claims received in this time frame despite the significant surge in claims.  Iowa Workforce Development encourages the public to visit www.IowaWorkorceDevelopment.gov to file for their initial and weekly unemployment insurance claim. While there, claimants will be able to get helpful information regarding unemployment insurance eligibility and receive the latest updated information.

Iowa Workforce Development is receiving an unprecedented level of calls and we have several hundred staff answering those calls each day. However, long waits are resulting from the surge and many of the questions can be answered by the information contained on our website. We ask everyone to be patient when calling and to consider looking to the website first for answers to their questions. We will continue to provide as much assistance as possible to our fellow Iowans to ensure everyone who is eligible for benefits, receive those benefits in a timely basis.

For more information on the total data for this week’s unemployment claims, please visit https://www.iowalmi.gov/unemployment-insurance-statistics.