Iowa placed in the top 10 in three weekly unemployment claims rankings for the week of February 28, WalletHub reported Thursday.
The Hawkeye State placed seventh in the nation for biggest decrease in claims (32.30%) compared with the same week of 2019, and the fifth biggest national decrease (67.05%) in claims compared with the start of 2020.
Iowa’s decrease in claims compared with the same week of 2021 was average (70.84%, 21st biggest decrease). West Virginia had the biggest decrease (91.02%), and District of Columbia had the smallest (66.22%).
WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square in an emailed statement that the national unemployment rate fell to 3.8% last month, which is the lowest it has been since before the pandemic (3.5%).
“This means that decreasing Covid-19 cases brought on a high number of new jobs and new workers, which are both signs that the pandemic’s hold on the economy may also be decreasing,” she said. “U.S. employers added over 670,000 jobs in February, continuing the streak of strong job growth we’ve been seeing for months. Job growth, in combination with less mask and vaccine mandates nationwide, should spur even more economic recovery.”
With the low unemployment rate, the Federal Reserve has room to start withdrawing economic support put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, she said.
Gonzalez said the omicron variant could delay unemployment decreases in the short term, but she anticipates 2022 job gains may surpass levels seen before the pandemic.
Johns Hopkins University Broadus Mitchell Associate Professor of Economics Nicholas Papageorge said in the report that clearer policies on school closures, travel restrictions and lockdowns would make the labor market healthier.
West Virginia University College of Law Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law Anne Marie Lofaso said in the report that unemployed workers are not returning to the job market for several reasons outside of unemployment benefits. For example, parents are considering staying home to care for their children, she said.
“Unemployment benefits have probably had the least effect on the labor shortage, especially in dual-income families where one parent can stay home while the other parent works,” she said. “Over time, a labor shortage should ultimately place upward pressure on wages. While this could encourage some workers to re-enter the workforce, this may not be true for the family-primary parent, who may decide that he or she could afford to stay home and take care of children while the spouse earns the money.”
This article was originally posted on Iowa places fifth for biggest decrease in weekly unemployment claims since 2020