Iowa Workforce Development reports initial unemployment insurance claims filed for week of March 15-21, 2020

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: March 26, 2020
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116

Iowa Workforce Development reports initial unemployment insurance claims filed for week of March 15-21, 2020

DES MOINES - The number of initial claims reported by U.S. Department of Labor, filed between Sunday, March 15th and Saturday, March 21st, (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 41,890. A previous version of this press release reported 40,952 claimants who both live and work in Iowa.  The USDOL number includes 938 claims filed by individuals who work in Iowa, but live out of state.  A total of $10,674,711.86 of unemployment insurance benefits were paid to claimants who live and/or work in Iowa for the week ending on March 20.    

The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19 will be available in next Thursday's release. 

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 timeframe despite the significant surge in claims.  Iowa Workforce Development encourages the public to visit 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