Iowa's Unemployment Rate Decreases to 3.2 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: October 20, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Decreases to 3.2 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.2 percent for September. The state’s jobless rate was 3.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in September.

“The State’s unemployment rate trended back down to 3.2 percent in September following a slight increase last month,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. “Both the labor force and the number of working Iowans improved this month. These gains are important to allow for businesses to expand and to continue economic growth."​

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 54,600 in September. The current estimate is 7,300 lower than the year ago level of 61,900. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,632,300 in September. This figure was 4,500 higher than August and 4,400 lower than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa establishments shed 4,000 jobs in September, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,586,600 jobs. This was the state’s first loss since April and only the third decline this year. Private services were responsible for the majority of the losses this month (-3,300). Government pared 900 jobs, primarily within state government, and is now down 1,300 jobs versus last year. On the other hand, private industries have combined for 15,500 jobs added over the past twelve months.

Education and health services pared 4,500 jobs since August to lead all super sectors. Losses were nearly identical between healthcare and social assistance and educational services. This is the first time since last year that this combined super sector has shed jobs monthly. The loss is partially the result of weaker than expected seasonal hiring in education. Professional and business services shed 1,500 jobs, marking the third loss in the last four months. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector has been responsible for the majority of the losses during that span. Other losses this month were smaller in nature and included trade and transportation (-500) and construction (-400). Conversely, Iowa businesses experienced strong hiring in accommodations and food services this month leading to a gain of 2,100 in leisure and hospitality. Financial activities also rebounded following an unexpected decline last month and added 1,200 jobs. The only other sector to add jobs this month was manufacturing (+600) which was mostly fueled by hiring in nondurable goods factories.

Since last September, no sector has fared better than education and healthcare services (+4,900). All of the annual growth has been in healthcare and social assistance. The financial activities sector has also continued to trend upward and now stands 4,200 jobs above last year’s mark. Leisure and hospitality has gained 4,000 jobs due entirely to strong hiring in accommodations and food services. Private sector losses have been limited to construction (-6,600) and information services (-1,600).

MEDIA ALERT:  An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide data for October 2017 will be released on Friday, November 17, 2017. Local data for October will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  September August September August September
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Civilian labor force 1,686,900 1,683,100 1,698,600 3,800 -11,700
Unemployment 54,600 55,300 61,900 -700 -7,300
Unemployment rate 3.2% 3.3% 3.6% -0.1 -0.4
Employment 1,632,300 1,627,800 1,636,700 4,500 -4,400
           
U.S. unemployment rate 4.2% 4.4% 4.9% -0.2 -0.7
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,586,600 1,590,600 1,572,400 -4,000 14,200
Mining 2,500 2,500 2,300 0 200
Construction 74,800 75,200 81,400 -400 -6,600
Manufacturing 215,400 214,800 213,000 600 2,400
Trade, transportation and utilities 320,400 320,900 316,500 -500 3,900
Information 21,200 21,300 22,800 -100 -1,600
Financial activities 112,700 111,500 108,500 1,200 4,200
Professional and business services 141,800 143,300 139,200 -1,500 2,600
Education and health services 233,700 238,200 228,800 -4,500 4,900
Leisure and hospitality 145,900 143,800 141,900 2,100 4,000
Other services 60,500 60,500 59,000 0 1,500
Government 257,700 258,600 259,000 -900 -1,300
 (above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  September August September August September
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Initial claims 7,654 8,659 8,875 -11.6% -13.8%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 17,499 21,307 20,000 -17.9% -12.5%
     Weeks paid 54,536 76,942 63,766 -29.1% -14.5%
     Amount paid $20,442,432 $27,873,073 $23,256,966 -26.7% -12.1%

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