Iowa's Unemployment Rate Declines to 6.6 Percent in July

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: August 21, 2020
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116

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Iowa's Unemployment Rate Declines to 6.6 Percent in July

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 6.6 percent in July. The state’s jobless rate was 2.7 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 10.2 percent in July.

“July's payrolls grew by 29,300. It is good news to see a decline in the overall unemployment rate. It is much better for our economic recovery if Iowa can move people off of unemployment and back into full time jobs,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “There are currently over 58,000 job postings on We will be reinstating the work search requirement on September 8th for many currently on unemployment. We encourage all Iowans who are able, to begin searching for their next opportunity.”

The number of unemployed Iowans declined to 107,300 in July from 137,700 in June. The current estimate is 59,800 higher than the year ago level of 47,500. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,517,900 in July. This figure was 11,400 higher than June and 175,300 lower than one year ago. 

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Establishments in Iowa gained 29,300 jobs in July, lifting total nonfarm employment to 1,488,600. This month’s gain was substantial and follows an increase of 44,700 jobs in June as firms fill payrolls and social-distancing efforts start to relax. Private industries added 20,700 jobs and were fueled by service industries such as health care and social assistance along with administrative and support services. Goods-producing industries have been hampered by weakness in the construction sector which has only added jobs in two months this year (January and May). Government advanced with 8,600 more jobs versus June and as public schools start to return to normal operations. Overall, government remains 10,500 jobs below last July despite the large monthly gains over the last two months.

Within private sectors, leisure and hospitality added the most jobs of any super sector in July (+8,600). This has been true for each of the last three months as these industries were most affected by social-distancing measures. Through July, leisure and hospitality has brought back nearly half of all staff laid off in March and April, although the job gains slowed markedly this month. Eating and drinking establishments comprised the majority of these job gains. Professional and business services advanced by 4,600 jobs with most of the growth evenly split between professional and business services and administrative and waste services. Health care and social assistance added 3,900 jobs following a gain of 3,500 in June. Manufacturing added 2,100 jobs fueled entirely by non-durable goods factories. Whereas durable goods has trended down slightly over the past few months, nondurable goods shops have rebounded to near pre-coronavirus levels. Job losses were sparse this month, but did include construction (-200). This sector has pared jobs in five of the last six months.

Annually, Iowa is down 97,200 jobs versus last July (-6.1 percent). Leisure and hospitality still has the majority of the losses (-31,700) due to accommodations and food services operating at reduced staffing levels. Trade, transportation, and utilities is down 9,700 jobs and is driven by losses of 4,700 in transportation and utilities. Construction has been one of the slowest industries to recover and remains down 9,400 jobs versus last July.

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for July 2020 will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.  Statewide data for August 2020 will be released on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
        Change from
  July June July June July
  2020 2020 2019 2020 2019
Civilian labor force 1,625,200 1,644,200 1,740,800 -19,000 -115,600
Unemployment 107,300 137,700 47,500 -30,400 59,800
Unemployment rate 6.6% 8.4% 2.7% -1.8 3.9
Employment 1,517,900 1,506,500 1,693,200 11,400 -175,300
U.S. unemployment rate 10.2% 11.1% 3.7% -0.9 6.5
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,488,600 1,459,300 1,585,800 29,300 -97,200
Mining 2,100 2,100 2,400 0 -300
Construction 69,100 69,500 78,500 -400 -9,400
Manufacturing 217,800 215,700 226,600 2,100 -8,800
Trade, transportation and utilities 300,400 299,300 310,100 1,100 -9,700
Information 19,700 20,000 21,200 -300 -1,500
Financial activities 107,600 106,900 110,000 700 -2,400
Professional and business services 131,400 126,800 139,200 4,600 -7,800
Education and health services 225,100 221,400 234,600 3,700 -9,500
Leisure and hospitality 112,800 104,200 144,500 8,600 -31,700
Other services 52,700 53,700 54,700 -1,000 -2,000
Government 249,700 241,100 260,200 8,600 -10,500
 (above data subject to revision)          


Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
        % Change from
  July June July June July
  2020 2020 2019 2020 2019
Initial claims 36,935 39,218 11,687 -5.8% 216.0%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 148,469 169,828 20,070 -12.6% 639.8%
     Weeks paid 556,751 618,410 69,778 -10.0% 697.9%
     Amount paid $162,975,191 $177,710,929 $25,851,912 -8.3% 530.4%