DES MOINES Iowa (AP) – State officials this morning say claims for jobless benefits in Iowa surged by more than 1,700% last week as the coronavirus pandemic forced workers to lose their jobs or stay home.
The Department of Labor reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance in Iowa surged to 41,890 in the week that ended March 21. Iowa Workforce Development put the number of claims slightly lower, at 40,952.
Either way, the data represented a historic increase from the 2,229 filed the week before, illustrating the sudden and stark economic impact caused by the virus.
Gov. Kim Reynolds has ordered the temporary closure of schools, bars, dine-in restaurants, theaters, casinos and barbershops to stop the spread of the virus.
Iowa Workforce Development reported that about one-third of last week’s claims came from workers in the accommodation and food services industries. Other claimants came from the health care, education and retail sectors.
The Iowa Restaurant Association said Thursday that a survey of 670 bars and restaurants statewide found that more than four out of five had laid off workers. Even restaurants that have remained open for carryout service have still laid off up to 90% of their employees, the association said.
The owners who were surveyed project that their March revenues will plummet by 84% compared with a year earlier, the association said.