DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s unemployment rate soared to 10.2% in April, reflecting the economic costs of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, state officials reported Friday. It’s the highest unemployment rate in Iowa history according to the figures from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which began tracking Iowa data in 1976.
Iowa has long had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, but it rose to 3.3% in March and then roughly tripled in April, according to Iowa Workforce Development. Iowa’s April 2019 rate was 2.7%.
The national unemployment rate for April was 14.7%.
Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said she was hopeful that as Gov. Kim Reynolds ends restrictions on businesses and gatherings that were intended to prevent outbreaks, the economy will quickly improve. Reynolds has taken those actions even as the number of deaths blamed on the coronavirus now tops 400 in Iowa and hundreds of new cases are reported daily.
“The silver lining in this month’s report is that over 1.5 million Iowans remained in the workforce despite the pandemic and this will do the most to decrease the recovery time,” Townsend said.