SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As coronavirus cases surge in parts of the country, some communities are starting to shut down their economies once more.
Last week, more than 1.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits.
In Siouxland, the news is better as unemployment claims continue to decrease.
In Iowa, more than 9,500 new claims were filed, which is a decrease of about 11%.
South Dakota saw nearly 700 new unemployment claims last week, which is down by about 46% from the week before.
Nebraska filings decreased by virtually half to almost 4,000 new claims.
Continued claims were also on a downward trend in all three states. With that said, there remains an economic uncertainty in Siouxland, and as unemployment rates decline, many communities are well over their average unemployment rate.
Siouxlanders will soon face the impending loss of the $600 bonus from the federal government.
Lori Scott is a financial and housing counselor at Center for Siouxland.
She said the number of people asking for assistance in the last few months has significantly declined, but she expects that to change.
“I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of people that are going to struggle. For the most part, if they’re getting the unemployment, then they feel secure during that time while they’re receiving unemployment,” Scott said.
Siouxland resident, Gail Norman, said not extending the $600 weekly unemployment benefit will set many Siouxlanders back, as some people fear a second wave of COVID-19 cases approaching.
“They just need the help now. Either they’re scared to go back to work, or they can’t go back to work due to their health conditions, or someone they care about. They want to make sure they don’t get them sick, and with the COVID, it seems like its getting worse,” Norman said.
Norman added she thinks the unemployment bonus shouldn’t expire completely, but maybe the government could offer a bi-weekly option or a lower amount.
For Siouxlanders struggling, the Center for Siouxland is just one community agency that offers assistance.
“What I would encourage clients to do or somebody in the community to do that’s struggling or know that their income is going to decrease significantly in the future, it’s to not worry about what you didn’t do yesterday and start thinking about what you can do moving forward to make my situation better,” Scott said.
Scott added it’s important for people who depend on the extra $600 a week to start looking for assistance now and not be afraid to reach out for help.
Visit the following links for financial assistance: Center for Siouxland, Community Action Agency of Siouxland Financial Assistance, United Way of Siouxland