Iowa Bureau of Labor Statistics was created by the 20th Iowa General
Assembly under the control of the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.
Its purpose was to collect, assort, systematize and present a
biennial report detailing a wide variety of issues.
E.R. Hutchins was appointed the first
Labor Commissioner by Governor Buren R. Sherman on August 14, 1884.
||Iowa’s first experience
in a free public job placement service abandoned as not one
placement was made.
enacted Chapter 132 of the Iowa Code permanently establishing the
Bureau of Labor Statistics in Iowa.
||Iowa enacted child
labor laws to protect Iowa’s children.
||Iowa enacted the Iowa
Workmen’s Compensation Act.
Garst (who served as Iowa’s governor from 1902 – 1908) was appointed
by Governor George W. Clarke as Iowa’s first Industrial
||The 36th Iowa General
Assembly created the State Free Employment Bureau as a part of the
Iowa Bureau of Labor Statistics on July 1, 1915.
||Iowa entered into a
cooperative agreement with the federal government to provide
employment services in Iowa.
||The Iowa Bureau of
Labor Statistics’ name was changed to the Iowa Bureau of Labor.
Elevator safety requirements were passed by the Iowa Legislature in
1923. The statute created a board to adopt a code of standards for
elevator construction, installation, equipment, maintenance and
operation. Cities could establish their own elevator codes, as long
as they did not conflict with the state elevator code. Inspections
were to be done by the cities and the labor commissioner’s
||Iowa had three
employment offices: one in the Polk County Courthouse; one in the
Sioux City City Hall; and one in the Farm Bureau office in Creston.
||The Iowa Legislature
gutted the recently passed elevator code. The board established to
write regulations was abolished, as was the commissioner’s authority
to inspect elevators. Responsibility was left with the various
cities to enforce if and as they saw fit. Hoist way doors and gates
were to be interlocked. A law reestablishing an elevator safety code
and a state inspection and enforcement role was not reestablished
||The Iowa Legislature
greatly expanded the state’s employment service. Ten district
offices were opened in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs,
Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sioux City, and
first Iowa Unemployment Compensation law was passed by a special
session of the Iowa Legislature during the Christmas week of 1936 to
enable Iowa employers to receive credit against a 2.7 percent
federal tax on the first $3,000 of wages for contributions paid
under Iowa law. The tax was retroactive to December 1, 1936. The
Iowa Unemployment Compensation Commission was created and made
responsible for unemployment insurance services.
The legislation provided for a single agency director, and Governor
Clyde L. Herring appointed Garrett Roelofs, a college professor and
former state senator from Orange City in northwest Iowa, to head the
Iowa Unemployment Compensation Commission.
||On May 21, 1937, the
already existing Iowa State Employment Service came under the
umbrella of the newly established three-person commission. Iowans
were well acquainted with the state employment service that placed
workers in 93,443 jobs during the year.
||In July, unemployment
insurance benefit claims began for the first time. The maximum
weekly benefit amount was $15 and the base period was eight
||The Iowa Unemployment
Compensation Commission moved to the Harger-Blish Building on 11th
Street, south of Mulberry. Later, the Des Moines local office
occupied the first two floors.
An estimate of all employed workers in Iowa was calculated as the
federal government began funding collection of very limited labor
market information on individual states. It was estimated 429,600
Iowans were employed.
||The name of the Iowa
Unemployment Compensation Commission was changed to the Iowa
Employment Security Commission. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Employment Service was federalized.
After World War II, however, the Employment Service was returned to
After decades of recommendations from labor commissioners, the 49th
Iowa General Assembly authorized the Iowa Bureau of Labor to
regulate and inspect boilers in 1941. Bureau of Labor inspectors
were charged with inspecting internally and externally every steam
boiler, tank, jacket, kettle, generator and other appurtenances used
for generating or transmitting steam under pressure for heating or
steaming purposes. Inspections were to be conducted at least once
every 12 months.
||The Iowa Employment
Security Commission was given the responsibility of administering
the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) pension program
that replaced the Iowa Old Age and Survivors Insurance program. When
IPERS began in 1953, the maximum covered wage was $4,000.
Iowa Employment Security Commission constructed a building at 1000
East Grand Avenue to house the agency’s administrative personnel.
||Iowa became one of
approximately five states that had amusement ride safety laws. A few
years prior a minor had been electrocuted at the Iowa State Fair.
Although a ride was not responsible for the fatality, the
legislature passed a statute giving the labor commissioner
responsibility for adopting rules and conducting an inspection of
each ride at least once annually.
||In 1972, the Iowa
Legislature repealed the former safety law and the Employment Safety
Commission and enacted the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Act (IOSH).
The primary purpose of the statute was to assure every working man
and woman in the state safe and healthful working conditions and to
preserve human resources.
||An elevator safety law
was enacted, in part as a response to a fatality in the early 1970.
A child was killed in front of his mother when he fell from the
elevator car down the hoist way in the Montgomery Wards store at 3rd
and Locust in Des Moines.
Also in 1975, a state wage payment collection law was enacted by the
legislature, Iowa Code chapter 91A. This came about in part because
a daughter of a prominent Iowa politician was denied her last
legal name of the Iowa Employment Security Commission was changed to
Job Service of Iowa. The agency was reorganized under a single
director and the three-member commission was abolished. A
three-member appeal board was created to hear appeals.
||Iowa became the sixth
state to regulate asbestos removal with the passage of the Asbestos
Removal and Encapsulation Act. It required workers to be trained and
registered with the Bureau of Labor.
The Hazardous Chemicals Risks Right to Know Act was also passed,
codified as chapter 455D of the Iowa Code, and was subsequently
transferred in the Iowa Code to chapter 89B.
||The Iowa Industrial
Commission, the Iowa Bureau of Labor, and the Job Service of Iowa
were merged into the new Iowa Department of Employment Services. The
Iowa Industrial Commission and the Iowa Bureau of Labor relocated
their offices to 1000 East Grand Avenue building. The change was a
result of major state government reorganization. Responsibility for
the IPERS program was transferred to the Iowa Department of
Personnel and the Iowa Commissioner of Athletics’ responsibilities
to regulate professional boxing and wrestling was transferred to the
labor commissioner. The annual report for fiscal year 1987 lists 68
local offices of which 11 were classified as district offices.
registration began to address concerns of employers utilizing
employees as “independent contractors.”
||January 1, 1990, Iowa’s
first minimum wage law became effective with a wage rate of $3.85
From June 24 - 29, Iowa hosted the annual convention of the
International Association of Personnel in Employment. Event
headquarters was the Marriot Hotel in downtown Des Moines.
Approximately 1,500 people attended from the U.S., Canada, China,
Japan, and Central and South America.
||The DES Data Center was
initiated. It was a PC-based electronic bulletin board for customers
to access labor market information and publications. Information was
accessed via a modem 24 hours a day, seven day a week.
||The Department of
Employment Services developed its first Web site on the Internet. It
included job listings, addresses of all local offices, monthly
updates on jobless benefits and other topics, as well as
downloadable labor market information.
Workforce Development was established by Iowa Code Chapter 84A. At
that time, the Department of Employment Services and portions of the
Departments of Economic Development and Human Rights were merged
into a new department with the purpose of administering the laws of
Iowa relating to unemployment compensation insurance, job placement
and training, employment safety, labor standards, workers'
compensation and others.