Iowa Workforce Development reports initial unemployment insurance claims

DES MOINES – The number of initial unemployment claims in Iowa, filed between Sunday, March 14, and Saturday, March 20, was 5,498, a decrease of 252 from last week’s adjusted numbers. There were 4,881 initial claims by individuals who work and live in Iowa, and 617 claims by individuals who work in Iowa and live in another state.  The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 38,165, a decrease of 1,980 from the previous week.  For the week ending March 20, 2021, nearly 57.1% of claimants indicated their claims were not COVID-19 related, which is a decrease from 58.1% the previous week.

The U.S. Department of Labor adjusted last week’s initial claim number to 5,750 (a decrease of 223) and continuing claims to 40,145 (a decrease of 554 for a total decrease of 777 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.

On March 11, 2021, the President signed into law extensions for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) through September 4, 2021. If you are receiving PEUC or PUA, your benefits have been extended and you do not need to take any additional action to receive the additional weeks. You must continue filing your weekly claims to receive payments. The FPUC additional $300 payment has also been extended for all programs. If you do exhaust regular state benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in the PEUC program. If you are notified that your benefit year has expired, you must file a new claim online to determine your continued eligibility. Due to current call volumes, we encourage customers to call only if they need assistance filing their claims. Additional customer questions can be answered by emailing Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Claimants who have received a notice of federal benefit overpayment now have the option to request an overpayment waiver for PEUC, FPUC, and PUA benefits.  The overpayment waiver form is available online:

IowaWORKS centers and satellite offices are providing limited in-person services to assist customers with work search activities and basic employment assistance.  Services include assistance with job searches, applications, resume preparation, and other services to help Iowans with their employment needs.  Individuals should telephone their local office first to schedule an appointment as walk-in services may be limited in order to follow social distancing recommendations.  Workshops and classes will not be offered at this time.  Customers with questions regarding unemployment insurance benefits should continue to contact the IWD call center at 1-866-239-0843 or email to obtain information about their claims.

For the week ending March 20, 2021, unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled $13,335,180.21. The following industries had the most claims:

●     Industry Not Available – Self-employed, Independent Contractors, etc (1,098)

●     Manufacturing (834)

●     Construction (389)

●     Transportation & Warehousing (366)

●     Retail Trade (348)

A total of $25,977,600 in FPUC benefits was paid, which include retroactive payments and reauthorized payments that went into effect on Dec. 27, 2020.  Since April 4, 2020, a total of $1,858,262,533 in FPUC benefits has been paid.

A total of $3,780,344 was paid in PUA benefits. Since April 13, 2020, a total of $221,816,138.54 in PUA benefits has been paid.

A total of $12,626,467.26 in benefits has been paid in PEUC benefits this week. Since May 27, 2020, a total of $286,507,194.42 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 65,000 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.

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:

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

This week’s Mission: Employable Podcast guests included Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend. LISTEN HERE: 

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