Sep 3, 2021 - Politics

How Iowa fared after ending federal pandemic unemployment aid early

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

States that ended supplemental unemployment benefits early saw similar job growth in comparison to those that continued to offer aid, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Why it matters: It suggests the bonus $300 a week was not a primary factor for why unemployed Iowans didn't return to work this last year, despite businesses offering higher pay.

Context: Iowa was one of the first states to exit the federal pandemic unemployment program, on June 17.

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds had cited worker shortages.

By the numbers: Nonfarm payrolls rose 1.33% in July from April for states that ended the benefits.

  • They rose 1.37% for states that continued benefits.

Yes, but: While the $300 was not the primary reason people remained unemployed, that doesn't mean it had no influence. There were some upticks in employment once states stopped the extra aid.

  • In Iowa, unemployment rose from 3.9% in May to 4.1% in July — signaling more people are searching for work.

The big picture: The wide array of reasons why people are still unemployed is complicated.

  • Lack of child care, COVID-19 fears, retirement and inability to find a job in a chosen field are all also contributing factors.

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