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Initial unemployment claims up slightly in Iowa

December 31, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The number of Iowans filing initial unemployment claims rose slightly last week, the Iowa Workforce Development said Thursday.

The agency said 7,644 initial unemployment claims were filed for the week ending on Saturday, an increase of 373 over the prior week.

The number of continuing weekly unemployment claims rose by 804, to 38,296, the agency said.

Unemployment claims generally are highest in November through February because of seasonal layoffs in construction, agriculture, landscaping and manufacturing.

Nearly 70.6% of the claims filed last week were not COVID-19 related, the agency said, an increase from 68.9% the previous week.

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The agency also announced Thursday that people who had been receiving unemployment through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation will not have payments interrupted, after President Donald Trump signed legislation extending the programs.

However, the state is awaiting federal guidance on implementing the program for new applications filed after Sunday. Payments of new claims might be delayed but the IWD said it anticipates the federal guidance will be issued in the next two weeks.