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Iowa Adds 5,500 Jobs in May

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: June 16, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646

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Iowa Adds 5,500 Jobs in May

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.1 percent for the third straight month. The state’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in May.

“After two months of losses, Iowa businesses showed some signs of optimism in May with 5,500 jobs added,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. “Hiring in trade, healthcare, and manufacturing establishments helped keep the state growing.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 52,900 in May. The current estimate is 11,200 lower than the year ago level of 64,100. 

The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,636,400 in May. This figure was 3,400 lower than April and 100 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa establishments expanded in May and added 5,500 jobs. This month’s gain was the first since February and more than offsets losses of 3,500 jobs over the last two months. Aside from government, job growth was evident in most segments of the Iowa economy in May and was led by private services. Government shed 500 jobs due to larger than expected seasonal declines at the local level. Compared to last year, government trails last year’s mark by 2,000 jobs due to reduced staffing levels at the local level.

Within private industries, trade and transportation added the most jobs this month (+2,400) due to hiring in both retail and wholesale trade. Transportation and utilities shed jobs in May, but remains up 2,500 jobs versus one year ago. Manufacturing added 2,300 jobs this month to help ease some of the recent losses plaguing this sector. Job gains were nearly split between both durable and nondurable goods factories. Some of the gain this month was due to a surge in hiring in food manufacturing (+800). Smaller gains this month included other services (+1,000), professional and business services (+900), and financial activities (+600).  Information services added jobs for the first time since January and increased by 300 jobs in May. Alternatively, job losses were led by leisure and hospitality (-1,200) with declines almost entirely focused in accommodations and food services. Construction experienced another small drop this month (-200) and follows another larger decline in April. The only other loss this month was in education and health care services (-100) due to a reduction in private education services.

Annually, nonfarm employment recovered this month and is up 15,200 jobs versus last May. Trade and transportation has been adding jobs lately in sales and leads all sectors with 7,100 total jobs gained. Education and health care is up 5,100 jobs due entirely to hiring in health care. Professional and business services has advanced steadily (+4,000) due mostly to hiring in professional, scientific, and technical services. Despite a large gain this month, manufacturing continues to lead all sectors in jobs lost versus last May (-1,600). Durable goods factories have been responsible for all of the layoffs as nondurable goods factories have added jobs in food manufacturing and animal slaughtering and processing. Leisure and hospitality is down versus last year (-1,300) with losses being concentrated in accommodation and food services. Construction also trails last year’s record highs due in part to the completion of a few large scale projects and is down (-1,100).

MEDIA ALERT:  An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide data for June 2017 will be released on Friday, July 21, 2017. Local data for June will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
        Change from
  May April May March April
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
Civilian labor force 1,689,300 1,692,000 1,700,400 -2,700 -11,100
Unemployment 52,900 52,200 64,100 700 -11,200
Unemployment rate 3.1% 3.1% 3.8% 0.0 -0.7
Employment 1,636,400 1,639,800 1,636,300 -3,400 100
U.S. unemployment rate 4.3% 4.4% 4.7% -0.1 -0.4
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,583,100 1,577,600 1,567,900 5,500 15,200
Mining 2,500 2,500 2,300 0 200
Construction 79,000 79,200 80,100 -200 -1,100
Manufacturing 212,500 210,200 214,100 2,300 -1,600
Trade, transportation and utilities 322,400 320,000 315,300 2,400 7,100
Information 21,400 21,100 22,500 300 -1,100
Financial activities 111,700 111,100 108,200 600 3,500
Professional and business Services 142,400 141,500 138,400 900 4,000
Education and health services 233,600 233,700 228,500 -100 5,100
Leisure and hospitality 141,100 142,300 142,400 -1,200 -1,300
Other services 61,300 60,300 58,900 1,000 2,400
Government 255,200 255,700 257,200 -500 -2,000
 (above data subject to revision)          


Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
        % Change from
  May April May April May
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
Initial claims 9,272 8,646 10,382 7.2% -10.7%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 22,504 29,471 24,313 -23.6% -7.4%
     Weeks paid 68,070 85,247 74,021 -20.1% -8.0%
     Amount paid $25,555,092 $32,361,531 $26,757,397 -21.0% -4.5%