Iowa's Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 2.5 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: October 18, 2019
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116
Email:  molly.elder@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 2.5 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent in September. The state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September.

“Iowa’s labor force participation rate has steadily increased with 7,900 more Iowans in the workforce since August,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Although unemployment remains low for our state, there are still tens of thousands of positions open. During the Future Ready Iowa Summits, many employers and community members have come forward with innovative solutions for recruiting skilled workers and retaining them in the state. We look forward to hearing more from employers during the remaining summits, in which you can still register at FutureReadyIowa.gov/registration.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 44,200 in September from 43,800 in August. The current estimate is 4,200 higher than the year ago level of 40,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,694,200 in September. This figure was 7,900 higher than August and 45,200 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Total nonfarm employment in Iowa decreased slightly in September (-400), the first monthly decline since March. Although there were some signs of hiring in the private sector, seasonal gains in government education were less than expected and more than matched the private sector growth. Government shed a combined 1,200 jobs in September, but still hovers 2,100 jobs higher than last year’s mark. Private industries gained 800 jobs in September and have risen by 10,600 jobs annually.

Within private sectors, the largest monthly movement in September was in financial activities (+900). This sector has been showing signs of cutbacks throughout 2019, although there were job gains in each of the last two months. Whereas insurance carriers and related activities have expanded versus one year ago, credit intermediation has been generally flat since last September. Construction fared well in September and gained 800 jobs as projects continued later into the season. This sector has now added jobs in every month since April. Retail provided an unexpected gain to the trade, transportation, and utilities super sector which added 500 jobs.

Private sector losses were generally light in September. Leisure and hospitality had a drop of 700 jobs due to losses in accommodations and food services. Eating and drinking establishments were responsible for most of this monthly loss. Professional and business services pared 400 jobs with losses being concentrated in administrative support and waste management services. Manufacturing again posted a monthly loss (-200) as nondurable goods factories reduced staff. This is now the third-consecutive decrease for manufacturing.

Annually, Iowa establishments have gained 12,700 jobs over last year’s mark. Although manufacturing has shown some recent weakness in nondurable goods manufacturing it still leads all super sectors in annual job gains (+4,800). Construction has reemerged recently as a job creator following a dismal first quarter and now rests 3,300 jobs above last year. The only super sectors losing jobs annually are information (-1,300) and mining (-100).

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for September will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. Statewide data for October 2019 will be released on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  September August September August September
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Civilian labor force 1,738,400 1,730,000 1,689,000 8,400 49,400
Unemployment 44,200 43,800 40,000 400 4,200
Unemployment rate 2.5% 2.5% 2.4% 0.0 0.1
Employment 1,694,200 1,686,300 1,649,000 7,900 45,200
           
U.S. unemployment rate 3.5% 3.7% 3.7% -0.2 -0.2
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,595,200 1,595,600 1,582,500 -400 12,700
Mining 2,400 2,400 2,500 0 -100
Construction 81,000 80,200 77,700 800 3,300
Manufacturing 228,500 228,700 223,700 -200 4,800
Trade, transportation and utilities 312,000 311,500 312,000 500 0
Information 20,700 20,700 22,000 0 -1,300
Financial activities 109,500 108,600 109,200 900 300
Professional and business services 141,600 142,000 140,400 -400 1,200
Education and health services 235,100 234,900 234,800 200 300
Leisure and hospitality 143,100 143,800 143,000 -700 100
Other services 59,300 59,600 57,300 -300 2,000
Government 262,000 263,200 259,900 -1,200 2,100
 (above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  September August September August September
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Initial claims 7,611 9,104 7,145 -16.4% 6.5%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 15,840 18,863 15,023 -16.0% 5.4%
     Weeks paid 47,753 57,894 45,580 -17.5% 4.8%
     Amount paid $18,888,646 $21,914,293 $17,253,286 -13.8% 9.5%

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