Iowa's Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly to 3.1 Percent in March

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: April 21, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly to 3.1 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.1 percent in March. The state’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in March.

“Unemployed Iowans continued to leave the labor force in March,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. “The reduction in Iowa's total labor force represents a smaller pool of qualified applicants and is making it difficult for businesses to fill positions. Total nonfarm employment showed little hiring among Iowa businesses this month resulting in a net decline in jobs.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 51,900 in March from 53,800 in February. The current estimate is 12,100 lower than the year ago level of 64,000. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,640,200 in March. This figure was 500 higher than February and 2,900 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa businesses pared jobs for the first time since November, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,580,600 jobs. This month’s decline was small in magnitude (-500), and generally due to losses in the private services sector. Government also contributed to this month’s drop with 500 jobs lost this month. Public sectors now lag behind last year’s mark by 700 jobs, whereas the state combined is up 8,100 jobs versus last March.

Within private sectors, leisure and hospitality posted the largest decline this month (-2,000). All of the losses in this sector this month were posted in arts, entertainment, and recreation. Accommodations and food services were unchanged since February. Most other sector declines this month were minor and included losses of 200 jobs in trade, transportation, and warehousing. This sector was hampered by larger than expected cutbacks in retail trade. Information services and professional and business services each shed 100 jobs in March. Job gains were led by construction (+1,100). This sector has added 2,700 jobs since January. Education and health services increased this month (+700) and have added jobs for four-consecutive months. Several sectors experienced incremental gains including manufacturing, finance, mining, and other services.

Annually, six of the ten private sectors have added jobs, led by professional and business services (+4,400). These gains have been fueled by increased staffing in administrative support and waste management services (+2,700). Education and health services have advanced steadily (+3,500), and finance has added jobs consistently since August and is up 3,100 jobs. Alternatively, losses continue to be led by manufacturing (-3,600) and primarily the result of cutbacks in durable goods factories (-3,100). Construction regressed slightly from last year’s historic highs and actually trails last year’s mark (-2,000). Information continues to reorganize and streamline services and is down 1,300 jobs versus one year ago.

MEDIA ALERT:  An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide data for April 2017 will be released on Friday, May 19, 2017. Local data for April will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  March February March February March
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Civilian labor force 1,692,100 1,693,600 1,701,400 -1,500 -9,300
Unemployment 51,900 53,800 64,000 -1,900 -12,100
Unemployment rate 3.1% 3.2% 3.8% -0.1 -0.7
Employment 1,640,200 1,639,700 1,637,300 500 2,900
           
U.S. unemployment rate 4.5% 4.7% 5.0% -0.2 -0.5
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,580,600 1,581,100 1,572,500 -500 8,100
Mining 2,500 2,400 2,200 100 300
Construction 81,500 80,400 83,500 1,100 -2,000
Manufacturing 211,200 211,000 214,800 200 -3,600
Trade, transportation and utilities 318,800 319,000 315,800 -200 3,000
Information 21,400 21,500 22,700 -100 -1,300
Financial activities 110,800 110,600 107,700 200 3,100
Professional and business services 142,500 142,600 138,100 -100 4,400
Education and health services 232,300 231,600 228,800 700 3,500
Leisure and hospitality 142,500 144,500 142,800 -2,000 -300
Other services 60,700 60,600 59,000 100 1,700
Government 256,400 256,900 257,100 -500 -700
(above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  March February March February March
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Initial claims 9,883 9,164 11,227 7.8% -12.0%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 39,494 41,939 40,789 -5.8% -3.2%
     Weeks paid 149,680 142,543 148,902 5.0% 0.5%
     Amount paid $57,444,559 $55,064,852 $54,696,526 4.3% 5.0%

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