Iowa Workforce Development reports initial unemployment insurance claims filed for week of January 10 - 16, 2021

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: Jan. 21, 2021
Media Contact:

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Iowa Workforce Development reports initial unemployment insurance claims filed for week of January 10 - 16, 2021

DES MOINES - The number of initial unemployment claims in Iowa, filed between Sunday, Jan. 10, and Saturday, Jan. 16, was 6,785, a decrease of 581 from last week’s adjusted numbers. There were 6,115 initial claims by individuals who work and live in Iowa, and 670 claims by individuals who work in Iowa and live in another state.  The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims was 46,694, a decrease of 1,859 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 Jan. 16, 2021, nearly 63.6% of claimants indicated their claims were not COVID-19 related, which is a decrease from 68.3% the previous week. 

The U.S. Department of Labor adjusted last week’s initial claim number to 7,366 (a decrease of 272) and continuing claims to 48,553 (a decrease of 898 for a total decrease of 1,170 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.   

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 Dec. 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.  IWD has received the implementing guidance for these programs from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), and is distributing payments to eligible claimants.  There is no need to call or reapply for these programs.  The CAA also created the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program.  IWD has received the implementing guidance from the USDOL for the MEUC program, and is working on the extensive system programming needed to distribute payments to eligible claimants.  More information about the MEUC program will be provided on the IWD website as it becomes available.  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 email

For the week ending Jan. 16, 2021, unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled $15,333,229.77. The following industries had the most claims: 

●     Construction (1,327)

●     Manufacturing (974)

●     Industry Not Available - Self-employed, Independent Contractors, etc (964)

●     Retail Trade (546)

●     Health Care & Social Assistance (461)

A total of $1,748,400 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 $1,631,341,033 in FPUC benefits has been paid.

A total of $4,643,211 was paid in PUA benefits. Since April 13, 2020, a total of $183,814,530.54 in PUA benefits has been paid.

A total of $4,629,337.39 in benefits has been paid in PEUC benefits. Since May 27, 2020, a total of $196,050,800.43 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 63,000 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 Jan. 27, 2021, Iowa Workforce Development will transition from Bank of America unemployment debit card payments to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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