What will be the effect of Iowa stopping participation in federal pandemic aid?

Citing state's low unemployment rate, strong labor market and recovering economy, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa will end participating in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs to address worker shortage

Posted: May 11, 2021 9:53 PM
Updated: May 12, 2021 6:41 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Governor Kim Reynolds says it's time for everyone who is able to get back to work to do so.

Citing a strong labor market, a low 3.7% unemployment rate and a recovering economy, she's ending the state's participation several pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs. The week ending June 12 will be the last week the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation programs are available in Iowa. This means people will no longer receive their weekly $300 supplement after that date.

The decision comes to address a worker shortage; the U.S. Department of Labor reported over 8 million job openings nationally in March for the first time ever. In particular, the restaurant and service industry lost 2.5 million workers during the height of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.

When service was limited to take-out only last year, Blue Heron Bar & Grill owner Vickie Lau had to lay off four workers that only worked just a couple days a week, though she was able to later bring them back. 

"They had other full time jobs. They were very gracious, and they said, 'let the other girls who rely on this job as their only employment.'"

Although she currently has 19 staffers, the increase in business is having Lau looking for help.

"When we first opened back up when the shots were going through, you can definitely see the end of March where it really picked up in volume. As somebody that does the staffing, we don't really know, I call it the roller coaster. We try and staff heavy and if we don't need as many, we let them go for the evening. We have been working pretty hard with the limited staff that we have."

To make up for some schedule vacancies, some staffers hours have been extended, including covering both of the busy lunch and dinner rushes, though she is trying to keep a balance.

"I don't want to overload my schedule with extra people, and take away from the people who've been here."

There are a few qualifications for potential hires.

"We're always looking for good quality, experienced people that have the want to help others, because we're in a service industry. That is one of our requirements is that you're nice, and that you can handle some stress, because it does get pretty busy sometimes."

With an expected increase in business over the summer months, she asks customers to be patient.

"Everywhere is understaffed."

Governor Reynolds says Iowa will continue to provide regular state unemployment insurance benefits to anyone who qualifies.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604184

Reported Deaths: 7620
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248631774
Ramsey52480895
Dakota46804470
Anoka42746458
Washington27416291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18137312
Scott17548135
Wright16370149
Olmsted13391102
Sherburne1201295
Carver1066448
Clay825892
Rice8196110
Blue Earth762543
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667885
Chisago619752
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461251
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430361
Morrison424662
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386655
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311654
Brown307840
Le Sueur297226
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196441
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154419
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138837
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95217
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Wilkin83213
Lake83120
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370914

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58232640
Linn21204339
Scott20306247
Black Hawk16119312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461585
Dubuque13506211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11223174
Story1071448
Warren583991
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux517074
Webster515494
Muscatine4880106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth402981
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288261
Carroll286852
Crawford268540
Boone268434
Benton259655
Washington256751
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198535
Page194522
Buchanan193733
Cedar192223
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185940
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166235
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163342
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152652
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123232
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96532
Monroe96330
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Van Buren56418
Ringgold56324
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
Rochester
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