Local economic development officials hope Iowa unemployment changes could help fill open jobs

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 3:45 AM CDT
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MONTROSE, Ia. (WGEM) - You may soon notice fewer ‘help wanted’ signs around southeast Iowa.

A new state law is changing Iowa’s unemployment benefits system.

Among other measures, House File 2355 reduces the maximum length of time you can file for benefits from 26 weeks down to 16 weeks.

Lee County Economic Development Group President Dennis Fraise said he hopes that it leads to open jobs being filled, especially in the manufacturing sector.

“I would say it’s fair to say that most every manufacturing facility would hire more good people if they could find them. There’s generally openings almost everywhere now,” he said.

According to Iowa Workforce Development, Lee County’s May unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, the third highest in the state.

While four percent unemployment is considered “full employment” he said companies, especially in the manufacturing sector are still doing all they can to fill open positions.

“One, employers have stepped up their wages which is great so it makes it a little easier to fill those positions,” he said. “I think they’re trying to be as flexible as they can with today’s workforce.”

Along with the changes in unemployment benefits, the new law also lowers the threshold for what is considered to be a suitable job in the state.

The law officially went into effect July 1st.

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