FILE - Virus Outbreak Unemployment, Iowa

A closed Toys R Us building sits in front of an empty parking lot, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

(The Center Square) – Iowa reported 760 new unemployment claims for the week ending May 22, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest unemployment figures released Thursday.

The DOL notes 4,342 Iowa workers filed for unemployment last week, compared to 3,582 new claims during the prior week.

Meanwhile, 26,125 continuing state jobless claims – which lag behind a week but are viewed as a barometer of the unemployment situation – were filed in the week ending May 15, decreasing by 48 claims from the previous week.

The DOL numbers arrive two days after The Des Moines Register reported the state paid between $29 million and $30 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite improving economic conditions, more than 15.8 million Americans were still receiving state or federal jobless benefits in the week ending May 8. The DOL notes the national advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending May 22 was 406,000, a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 444,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000.

The DOL also reports the four-week moving average was 458,750, a decrease of 46,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 504,750. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020, when it was 225,500.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 8 were in Nevada (5.7), Connecticut (4.5), Rhode Island (4.5), Alaska (4.3), Puerto Rico (4.3), California (3.9), New York (3.9), Pennsylvania (3.9), Illinois (3.7), and Vermont (3.6).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 15 were in New Jersey (+4,812), Washington (+3,023), Minnesota (+1,806), West Virginia (+907), and Rhode Island (+792), while the largest decreases were in Georgia (-7,392), Kentucky (-7,123), Texas (-3,881), Michigan (-3,560), and Florida (-2,994)

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.