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  • BY KATHY A. BOLTEN
    Friday, March 27, 2020 2:22 PM
    Iowa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.8% in February but will likely more than double by April if newly filed claims continue to climb.

  • BY JOE GARDYASZ
    Friday, March 27, 2020 6:00 AM
    Foreign trade zones — a longstanding economic development tool with a tepid take-up rate among Iowa companies — have gotten a little bit of a boost lately. 

  • BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 11:08 AM
    Before the coronavirus pandemic made its way to Iowa, the U.S. Small Business Administration in February backed $6,831,000 in five Central Iowa loans. 

  • BY JOE GARDYASZ
    Friday, March 20, 2020 10:32 AM
    The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index  plummeted in March to its lowest level since October 2016, as six out of 10 rural bankers in the Midwest say they expect the coronavirus threat will produce a recession. 

  • BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF
    Thursday, March 19, 2020 2:22 PM
    The Iowa Leading Indicators Index for January — which does not account for more recent changes in economic activity due to the global pandemic — decreased 0.3% to 106.5 in January, from a revised 106.8 in December.

  • BY KATHY A. BOLTEN
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 3:35 PM
    Iowa Workforce Development, responding to an anticipated surge in unemployed Iowans because of temporary business closures due to the coronavirus, has loosened its guidelines for qualifying for unemployment benefits.

    In addition, the state is waiving unemployment insurance fees that are charged to businesses when workers file unemployment claims. The charge is being waived only in instances related to COVID-19. 

    “We are loosening things as far as we can,” said Nick Olivencia, an Iowa Workforce Development attorney.
    Specifically:
    • Workers who stay home to self-isolate or to care for family members will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits as long as they meet other eligibility requirements. This includes caring for children because of school or day care closures. In addition, full- or part-time workers whose employers close businesses because of COVID-19 will also be eligible for unemployment benefits.
    • The agency is temporarily dropping the requirement for unemployed Iowans to search for work while receiving benefits.
    • Iowa Workforce development will look for ways to address instances in which employees – mostly those new to working at a business  don’t meet the minimum qualifying wages requirement to receive benefits but might if previous employment is included.

    Olivencia said Iowa Workforce Development is bracing for a surge of new unemployment claim applications because of the temporary closure of restaurants, bars, retail shops and other businesses. 

    While some businesses provide paid time off to hourly-wage workers, many others do not, particularly for part-time workers, he said. It’s workers without paid time off or who work part time who will be applying for unemployment.

    Currently the state has more than $1 billion in its unemployment fund, which is financed by payroll taxes paid by businesses.

    “We are in a position where we are not concerned right now about the solvency of the trust fund,” Olivencia said. “We are in a healthy position to pay out unemployment benefits.”

    Iowa’s January unemployment rate was 2.8%. The state had about 49,500 unemployed workers in January, up slightly from the 49,300 who were unemployed in December.

    The state’s unemployment rate for February is expected to be released in late March. 

    The spike in unemployed Iowans due to the virus will likely start to be seen in the March data.
    On Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered the closure of the state’s bars, fitness centers, theaters, gaming facilities, senior citizen centers and adult day care facilities through March 31. While the mandate requires restaurants to close, it allows the businesses to provide food through drive-through, carryout and delivery.

    For more information about filing unemployment claims or how unemployment claims will affect employers’ unemployment taxes, click here.

  • BY JOE GARDYASZ
    Friday, March 13, 2020 4:48 PM
    https://www.dsmpartnership.com/covid-19The Greater Des Moines Partnership released information late Friday afternoon on its response to the coronavirus emergency, including an updated list of events that will be either moved online, postponed or canceled. Among the largest events that will be canceled this month is the Des Moines Book Festival, which was scheduled March 28. 

    “While we’re obviously disappointed, we felt we had no choice but to do that,” Partnership CEO Jay Byers said in a phone interview. 

    The Partnership’s overall approach to adjusting its public events schedule is to transition events to online when possible, or postpone them to later dates, with cancellation as a last resort. Accordingly, the Raising Capital Seminar scheduled for March 23 will become a virtual online event, while several other seminars, such as a Top Five fraud prevention seminar for small businesses and an Untapped Talent event, will be postponed to later dates yet to be announced. 

  • BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF
    Friday, March 13, 2020 2:36 PM
    A majority of U.S. small businesses say they are not currently affected by the coronavirus outbreak, according to survey results released today by the National Federation of Independent Business. Based on a random survey of its membership database of about 300,000 small business owners, 74% said they are not currently experiencing an impact, while 23% said they are seeing a negative impact. Three percent said they have seen a positive impact. 

  • Friday, March 13, 2020 11:26 AM
    The state of Iowa issued $78.4 million in tax credits to businesses in 2019 through the Research Activities Credit, according to an Iowa Department of Revenue report released Thursday.

  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:55 AM
    The West Des Moines Chamber board of directors has named Katherine Harrington as its new president and chief executive officer. 

  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020 3:26 PM
    Two competitive grants are available to Iowa communities with less than 20,000 residents, the Iowa Economic Development Authority recently announced. 

  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020 3:25 PM
    Iowa manufacturers are concerned about supply disruptions due to coronavirus, according to the results of the latest ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey released Tuesday.

  • BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF
    Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:35 AM
    Johnston businesswoman Sabetha Mumm, owner of Dance Vision, was named Iowa’s 2020 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

  • Thursday, March 5, 2020 2:41 PM

  • BY BUSINESS RECORD STAFF
    Wednesday, March 4, 2020 9:17 AM
    The February Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator for a nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, sank for the month, but remained above growth-neutral.

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