Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Increases to 2.5 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: August 16, 2019
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Increases to 2.5 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.5 percent in July. The state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in July.

"After a solid year of 2.4 percent unemployment, unemployment ticked up slightly to 2.5 percent. However, the number of working Iowans increased to 1,680,500 in July, which is 4,000 higher than June and 35,500 higher than one year ago," said Beth Townsend, Director, Iowa Workforce Development. "We continue to have more job openings than we have Iowans to fill them. We have recently seen hundreds of Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarships awarded by our community colleges which is a good indication that there are many Iowans who want to get upskilled to take advantage of all of the good jobs available in Iowa."

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 42,800 in July from 41,400 in June. The current estimate is 1,800 higher than the year ago level of 41,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,680,500 in July. This figure was 4,000 higher than June and 35,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Business establishments in Iowa gained 1,800 jobs in July and have now expanded payrolls in each of the last four months. Private service industries were responsible for all of the growth this month. Goods-producing industries contracted by 200 jobs. Government displayed little movement compared to June and has increased only slightly versus last year. Private industry has advanced by 9,900 jobs over the past twelve months.

Professional and business services gained the most jobs in July (+1,400) and were fueled by hiring in administrative and support services (+700). This sector has been disappointing thus far this year, adding jobs in just two months. Professional, scientific, and technical services fared well this month (+600) and is up 1,200 jobs over last year. Leisure and hospitality advanced by 1,100 and has been propelled by hiring in accommodations and food services (+900). The hiring has been especially strong in the Des Moines area. Other gains this month included 500 jobs in construction. This was the fourth consecutive gain for this sector. Job losses were limited to just three sectors, but concentrated within the financial services sector (-1,000). Finance and insurance has been particularly weak recently, shedding 900 jobs in July and generally trending down over the past twelve months. Manufacturing also took a step back this month (-700) following a moderate gain in June. This month’s paring was mostly the result of declines in durable goods factories (-900).

Over the past twelve months, total nonfarm employment has advanced by 10,200 with manufacturing adding the most jobs (+6,100). Non-durable goods factories have now outpaced the job growth in durable goods shops following its reduction this month. Education and health services are up 2,500 jobs due to strong gains in health care and social assistance (+3,400). Super sector losses are now led by financial activities (-1,800). This sector has shown been trimming payrolls at an increasing rate throughout this year. Information continues to adjust to changing technologies and is down 1,400 jobs. Retail trade continues to adjust to shifting consumer preferences and has been a strain to trade, transportation, and utilities which is otherwise adding jobs. Overall, this super sector is down 1,000 jobs annually.

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for July will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Statewide data for August 2019 will be released on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
        Change from
  July June July June July
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
Civilian labor force 1,723,300 1,717,900 1,686,100 5,400 37,200
Unemployment 42,800 41,400 41,000 1,400 1,800
Unemployment rate 2.5% 2.4% 2.4% 0.1 0.1
Employment 1,680,500 1,676,500 1,645,000 4,000 35,500
U.S. unemployment rate 3.7% 3.7% 3.9% 0.0 -0.2
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,594,900 1,593,100 1,584,700 1,800 10,200
Mining 2,500 2,500 2,500 0 0
Construction 79,000 78,500 78,000 500 1,000
Manufacturing 229,200 229,900 223,100 -700 6,100
Trade, transportation and utilities 311,700 311,600 312,700 100 -1,000
Information 20,700 20,800 22,100 -100 -1,400
Financial activities 107,400 108,400 109,200 -1,000 -1,800
Professional and business services 141,900 140,500 141,000 1,400 900
Education and health services 236,600 236,300 234,100 300 2,500
Leisure and hospitality 144,800 143,700 143,600 1,100 1,200
Other services 59,800 59,500 57,400 300 2,400
Government 261,300 261,400 261,000 -100 300
 (above data subject to change)          


Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
        % Change from
  July June July June July
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
Initial claims 11,687 8,759 11,583 33.4% 0.9%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 20,070 17,647 20,025 13.7% 0.2%
     Weeks paid 69,778 54,285 58,680 28.5% 18.9%
     Amount paid $25,851,912 $20,421,079 $21,092,634 26.6% 22.6%