Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.2 Percent in February

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: March 24, 2017
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.2 Percent in February

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent in February. The state’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 4.7 percent in February.

“Iowa took another step towards full employment with the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level since 2001,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “A large number of Iowans found work in February. This was evident in the establishment survey which showed Iowa businesses added 3,000 jobs this past month.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 53,600 in February from 56,900 in January. The current estimate is 10,600 lower than the year ago level of 64,200. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,639,700 in February. This figure was 2,700 higher than January and 1,900 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa businesses again expanded in February, adding 3,000 jobs and lifting total nonfarm employment to 1,580,400 jobs. Last month’s employment experienced a moderate revision downward and this month’s gain helps recover much of the drop. Private sectors were responsible for all of the growth this month as government shed jobs (-500) primarily at the local level. Despite this loss, government remains up 800 jobs annually and the state combined is up 10,900 jobs.

Among private sectors, education and health services added 1,800 jobs in February to lead all sectors. Education added the majority of the jobs (+1,300), although healthcare also expanded their payrolls (+500). Construction added jobs this month (+1,600) and this month’s gain could signify an earlier than usual start to the building season. Other gains this month included professional and business services which added jobs for the fourth-consecutive month, and finance which has steadily trended up since August. Losses this month were limited to just three sectors and led by leisure and hospitality (-900). This sector pared jobs evenly in both recreational activities and hospitality and eating and drinking places. Despite the monthly loss, this sector has fared well and added jobs annually (+2,000). Alternatively, information services again trended down this month (-400), as did manufacturing (-200) due to cutbacks in durable goods.

Annually, total nonfarm employment continues to slowly add employment and has been fueled by hiring in professional and business services (+4,200). This sector alone has been responsible for 39 percent of all annual job gains in the state. Finance continues to grow its footprint in Iowa and is up 3,000 jobs versus last year. Other sectors experiencing growth annually include trade and transportation (+2,400), education and health services (+2,000), and leisure and hospitality (+2,000). Annual losses have been largest in manufacturing (-4,000) and wholly limited to durable goods factories. Information is the only other sector to pare jobs versus last year (-1,400).

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

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  February January February January February
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Civilian labor force 1,693,300 1,693,900 1,702,000 -600 -8,700
Unemployment 53,600 56,900 64,200 -3,300 -10,600
Unemployment rate 3.2% 3.4% 3.8% -0.2 -0.6
Employment 1,639,700 1,637,000 1,637,800 2,700 1,900
           
U.S. unemployment rate 4.7% 4.8% 4.9% -0.1 -0.2
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,580,400 1,577,400 1,569,500 3,000 10,900
Mining 2,400 2,400 2,100 0 300
Construction 80,400 78,800 80,300 1,600 100
Manufacturing 211,000 211,200 215,000 -200 -4,000
Trade, transportation and utilities 318,500 318,100 316,100 400 2,400
Information 21,500 21,900 22,900 -400 -1,400
Financial activities 110,700 110,500 107,700 200 3,000
Professional and business           
    services 142,400 141,400 138,200 1,000 4,200
Education and health services 230,700 228,900 228,700 1,800 2,000
Leisure and hospitality 144,400 145,300 142,400 -900 2,000
Other services 60,600 60,600 59,100 0 1,500
Government 257,800 258,300 257,000 -500 800
(above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  February January February January February
  2017 2017 2016 2017 2016
           
Initial claims 9,164 15,756 10,177 -41.8% -10.0%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 41,939 47,551 43,595 -11.8% -3.8%
     Weeks paid 142,543 150,958 148,211 -5.6% -3.8%
     Amount paid $55,064,852 $57,748,242 $54,851,063 -4.6% 0.4%

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