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Iowa workforce development agency says jobless Iowans receiving least benefits in half a century

DES MOINES - Folks without a job in Iowa seeking help are getting the least benefits in 55 years, the state's employment assistance agency bragged this morning.

DES MOINES – Folks without a job in Iowa seeking help are getting the least benefits in 55 years, the state’s employment assistance agency bragged this morning.

Eighteen months after Iowa revamped its approach to unemployment and began providing earlier job search assistance to people seeking unemployment benefits, the average length of an unemployment claim has dropped to its lowest level in more than 55 years.

A recent review of Iowa Workforce Development data shows that unemployment claims lasted for an average of 10.7 weeks in calendar year 2022 – 10.1 weeks for the 12 months that ended May 31, 2023.

Those are the lowest figures that statistic has seen since claims lasted for an average 9.7 weeks in 1967.

The shorter average duration follows Iowa’s adoption of its Reemployment Case Management (RCM) system in January 2022. RCM created a new requirement that unemployment claimants have weekly contact with IWD Career Planners starting with the first week of their unemployment claims. Career Planners review job searches, discuss job interviews, and provide direct assistance to clients by making connections to training and educational opportunities in high-demand careers.

“The numbers clearly show that the Reemployment Case Management program is making a difference,” said Beth Townsend, Executive Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “By providing job-seeking Iowans with more assistance as soon as they become unemployed, we are shortening the time between the loss of one job and the acquisition of the next, returning unemployment to what it was always intended to be – a bridge between jobs.”

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