Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: March 15, 2021
Contact: Molly Elder
Iowa's Unemployment Rate at 3.5 Percent in January
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent from the revised December rate of 3.7 percent. The state’s jobless rate was 2.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in January.
“Since last April, 2020, Iowa has grown its workforce by 45,400. In January, Iowa added 8,200 workers, which is a positive sign as we look to get more Iowans back into the workforce,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “As the weather continues to improve and our seasonal layoffs come to an end, we are hopeful our unemployment rate will continue to decline and our labor participation rate will improve.”
The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 57,400 in January from 59,900 in December. The current estimate is 132,800 lower than the COVID-19 revised peak in April of 190,200 and 8,100 higher than the year ago level of 49,300. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,567,800 in January. This figure was 8,200 higher than December’s number of 1,559,600 and 45,400 higher than April 2020.
Monthly labor force data have been revised for 1976-2020 as required by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Benchmarking is the process of re-estimating statistics as more complete data becomes available. Prior year’s estimates for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) programs are benchmarked annually. In March, the revised data is incorporated with the January employment statistics.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Iowa establishments gained 3,000 jobs in January, leaving total nonfarm employment at 1,516,400 jobs. Private industries advanced slightly (+800). Much of the hiring was within goods-producing industries which gained 1,700 jobs since December. Government added 2,200 jobs due to a strong showing at the local level (+1,200).
Construction added the most jobs in January (+1,000). This is the second-consecutive monthly increase for the sector and the third in the last four months. This sector showed little growth last year; however, this industry showed signs of expansion in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing gained 700 jobs in January with much of the hiring being within nondurable goods factories. Manufacturing has trended up since May, adding 7,000 total jobs during that span. The majority of these gains have been in nondurable goods shops. Hiring in private education led to a gain of 700 jobs in education and health services. Smaller increases this month included leisure and hospitality (+400) and financial activities (+300). On the other hand, losses were greatest in the retail trade (-1,300). This sector showed an unusually large gain last month to accommodate the holiday shopping season. Information shed 500 jobs with losses in two of the last three months. Both other services and professional and business services shed 300 jobs since December.
Compared to April, Iowa establishments have now added back 103,900 jobs. Leisure and hospitality has added the most jobs (+39,800), although bulk hiring may not occur until the spring and summer months and after social-distancing measures have ended. Retail has added back 22,600 jobs with hiring being strongest in general merchandise and food and beverage stores. Health care and social assistance is up 9,700 jobs despite a small drop in January.
Unemployment Insurance Claims
The total number of initial claims decreased in January 2021 by 13,825 (35.5 percent) from December 2020 and have fallen 132,231 (-84.1 percent) versus the peak of 157,324 in April 2020. For continued claims, most statistics have been reduced to approximately 75 percent of the April 2020 levels. The number of claimants increased by 4.8 percent from last month and are down 136,539 over the prior nine months. The weeks paid increased to 156,961 in January, less than 25 percent of the 652,623 paid in April 2020, while the total amount paid to claimants increased to $61.7 million, less than 30 percent of the $213.5 million paid nine months ago.
MEDIA ALERT: Local data for January 2021 is available on the IWD website. Statewide data for February 2021 will be released on Friday, March 26, 2021.
|Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data|
|Civilian labor force||1,625,100||1,712,600||1,734,200||-87,500||-109,100|
|U.S. unemployment rate||6.3%||14.8%||3.5%||-8.5||2.8|
|Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data|
|Total Nonfarm Employment||1,516,400||1,412,500||1,593,800||103,900||-77,400|
|Trade, transportation and utilities||307,000||281,600||311,200||25,400||-4,200|
|Professional and business services||136,100||129,600||140,300||6,500||-4,200|
|Education and health services||221,300||207,600||236,600||13,700||-15,300|
|Leisure and hospitality||118,100||78,300||144,900||39,800||-26,800|
|(above data subject to revision)|
|Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa|
|% Change from|
|Number of claimants||46,120||182,659||45,207||-74.8%||2.0%|