Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops to Historically Low 2.4 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: November 16, 2018
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

Status of the Iowa Workforce 

Printer Friendly Version

Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops to Historically Low 2.4 Percent

Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops to Historically Low 2.4 Percent in October 2018Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 2.4 percent in October. The state’s jobless rate was 2.9 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in October.

“Due to increases in our manufacturing and construction sectors, Iowa has not seen an unemployment rate this low since March, 2000," said Director Beth Townsend. "The strengths of these sectors are the backbone of Iowa’s continued economic growth. This low unemployment rate makes it imperative for us to focus on building the skilled workforce necessary to power Iowa's continued economic growth. We have recently held 18 regional Future Ready Iowa summits around the state that brought together more than 2,500 Iowans committed to closing the skills gap in their own communities. It is this type of effort and engagement that will ultimately solve this problem in Iowa and enable us to meet our Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of our workforce having credentials or education by 2025.”

A 2.4 percent unemployment rate in Iowa was first recorded nearly 19 years ago in December of 1999. The rate held there until March of 2000, making this October the fifth month since the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program began in 1976 that the rate recorded was this low.

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 41,200 in October from 41,800 in September. The current estimate is 8,000 lower than the year ago level of 49,200

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in October. This figure was 2,700 higher than September and 21,300 higher than one year ago.“Due to increases in our manufacturing and construction sectors, Iowa has not seen an unemployment rate this low since March, 2000, “said Director Beth Townsend. The strengths of these sectors are the backbone of Iowa’s continued economic growth. This low unemployment rate makes it imperative for us to focus on building the skilled workforce necessary to power Iowa's continued economic growth. We have recently held 18 regional Future Ready Iowa summits around the state that brought together more than 2,500 Iowans committed to closing the skills gap in their own communities. It is this type of effort and engagement that will ultimately solve this problem in Iowa and enable us to meet our Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of our workforce having credentials or education by 2025.”

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

The number of unemployed Iowans on Unemployment decreased to 15,664 (Lowest number since 1999) October 2018Following a job loss in September, businesses in Iowa returned to hiring in October and added 3,900 jobs. This monthly gain more than offset a loss of 2,100 jobs last month and leaves the state up 21,800 jobs compared to one year ago. Private sectors again were responsible for all of the gain this month. Government shed 1,000 jobs following another loss of 3,600 last month and now trails last year’s mark by 1,800 jobs. Much of this loss stems from the state government level (-1,300 jobs). Overall, seven of the ten private super sectors added jobs and only three lost jobs.

Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs in October in Iowa (+2,100). Arts, entertainment, and recreational industries provided most of the added employment (+1,300). Many of these gains were due to special events bolstering staff levels in amusement and recreational industries. Construction also continued expanding this month, adding 1,600 jobs. This is now the ninth-consecutive month of job growth for the construction sector. Manufacturing grew in October in both durable and nondurable goods factories and gained 1,100 jobs. The only losses for this super sector occurred in April and May when a combined 200 jobs were pared. On the other hand, retail trade continued its struggles this month, paring 500 jobs. The super sector was lifted by usual hiring in transportation, warehousing, and utilities. This has been true throughout 2018 with transportation, warehousing, and utilities gaining 4,500 jobs annually. All other super sector losses this month were small and limited to education and health services (-300), professional and business services (-200), and other services (-100).

Annually, Iowa remains up 21,800 jobs following the October hiring. Manufacturing is now up 9,000 jobs to lead all sectors. Durable goods factories have been responsible for a majority of that growth (+6,100). Construction projects have been strong in 2018 and continued well into the fall this year, leading to a gain of 6,300 jobs over last October. Losses are light annually and limited to other services (-1,800).

MEDIA ALERT: Click here to access an audio cut of comments about Iowa's labor market situation. Local data for October will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Statewide data for November 2018 will be released on Friday, December 21, 2018.

Manufacturing increased by 1,100 jobs; up 9,000 jobs in 2018 (October)

Construction is showing its ninth month of increase; up 6,300 jobs in 2018 (October)

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  October September October September October
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
           
Civilian labor force 1,688,300 1,686,100 1,675,000 2,200 13,300
Unemployment 41,200 41,800 49,200 -600 -8,000
Unemployment rate 2.4% 2.5% 2.9% -0.1 -0.5
Employment 1,647,100 1,644,400 1,625,800 2,700 21,300
           
U.S. unemployment rate 3.7% 3.7% 4.1% 0.0 -0.4
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,595,300 1,591,400 1,573,500 3,900 21,800
Mining 2,500 2,400 2,400 100 100
Construction 81,600 80,000 75,300 1,600 6,300
Manufacturing 227,800 226,700 218,800 1,100 9,000
Trade, transportation and utilities 314,000 313,900 314,000 100 0
Information 21,800 21,700 21,800 100 0
Financial activities 112,000 111,600 109,200 400 2,800
Professional and business Services 142,400 142,600 139,800 -200 2,600
Education and health services 232,900 233,200 230,000 -300 2,900
Leisure and hospitality 145,400 143,300 144,600 2,100 800
Other services 55,900 56,000 57,700 -100 -1,800
Government 259,000 260,000 259,900 -1,000 -900
 (above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  October September October September October
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
           
Initial claims 9,475 7,145 9,585 32.6% -1.1%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 15,735 15,023 17,122 4.7% -8.1%
     Weeks paid 53,152 45,580 51,871 16.6% 2.5%
     Amount paid $20,100,113 $17,253,286 $19,350,692 16.5% 3.9%

###