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Iowa's Unemployment Rate Remains at 2.7 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: July 20, 2018
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646

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Status of the Iowa Workforce

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Remains at 2.7 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains at 2.7 percent in June. The state’s jobless rate was 3.2 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 4.0 percent in June.

"We are running out of superlatives to describe the low unemployment in Iowa," said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. "Low unemployment combined with the 3,400 additional jobs created in June, translates to employers struggling to find a qualified, available workforce. The good news is that Iowa continues with strong efforts to increase the number of skilled workers in Iowa through programs like Future Ready Iowa, STEM, Home Base Iowa and apprenticeship programs, both registered and industry recognized. All our partners are at the table and working hard to support growth of the workforce including education, economic developers, business and industry and nonprofits. We must continue and expand these efforts to ensure that our workforce growth keeps pace with our economic growth."

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 44,900 in June from 46,000 in May. The current estimate is 8,200 lower than the year ago level of 53,100. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,635,000 in June. This figure was 5,100 higher than May and 7,900 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In June, Iowa establishments added 3,400 jobs. Whereas private industry gained 500 jobs, government was responsible for 2,900 jobs added. The majority of these hires were at the local level. The gain was due to a larger than expected seasonal expansion in local areas adding public staff for summer activities. Government has now risen 1,600 jobs above last year’s mark, while the state combined now rests up 15,900 jobs beyond last June. This month’s increase is the second-consecutive gain and the fourth overall monthly expansion for 2018.

Construction added jobs for the fifth consecutive month in June (+900) and has more than rebounded following a downturn last year. With this gain, construction has now added 4,900 jobs since January. Fueled by gains in healthcare, the education, healthcare and social assistance super sector again trended up this month. This is the second straight gain following unexpected losses in March and April. The only other notable gain this month occurred in manufacturing (+300) with all of the increase stemming from nondurable goods factories, specifically food manufacturers. On the other hand, losses this month were heaviest within professional and business services (-600). The biggest drop came from administrative support and waste management services and was related to unexpected declines for firms involved with staffing and cleaning services. In the wake of the recent flooding in Iowa, these sectors may see a spike in the July estimates for these industries. All other losses were small this month and included trade and transportation, financial activities, and other services.

Manufacturing continues to lead all sectors with 9,800 jobs added over the past twelve months. Durable goods factories leads its nondurable goods counterpart in terms of jobs with 7,200 added versus 2,600 in nondurable goods factories. Two of the largest segments of manufacturing, food manufacturing and machinery manufacturing, have both fared well during that span. The professional and business services sector experienced a slight loss this month but is up 2,600 jobs due to growth in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector. Finance also remains markedly up despite small losses in each of the last two months. Losses have been limited to other services, trade and transportation, and education and health services.

MEDIA ALERT:  Click here or call (515) 281-6057 to access an audio cut of comments about Iowa's labor market situation. Local data for June will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Statewide data for July 2018 will be released on Friday, August 17, 2018.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
        Change from
  June May June May June
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
Civilian labor force 1,679,900 1,676,000 1,680,200 3,900 -300
Unemployment 44,900 46,000 53,100 -1,100 -8,200
Unemployment rate 2.7% 2.7% 3.2% 0.0 -0.5
Employment 1,635,000 1,629,900 1,627,100 5,100 7,900
U.S. unemployment rate 4.0% 3.8% 4.3% 0.2 -0.3
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,588,400 1,585,000 1,572,500 3,400 15,900
Mining 2,400 2,400 2,300 0 100
Construction 77,500 76,600 76,200 900 1,300
Manufacturing 225,000 224,700 215,200 300 9,800
Trade, transportation and utilities 314,000 314,200 314,700 -200 -700
Information 22,000 21,900 22,000 100 0
Financial activities 111,200 111,400 109,000 -200 2,200
Professional and business Services 142,100 142,700 139,500 -600 2,600
Education and health services 232,300 231,900 232,700 400 -400
Leisure and hospitality 144,700 144,700 142,800 0 1,900
Other services 55,200 55,400 57,700 -200 -2,500
Government 262,000 259,100 260,400 2,900 1,600
 (above data subject to revision)          


Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
        % Change from
  June May June May June
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
Initial claims 9,259 9,063 10,201 2.2% -9.2%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 17,161 19,632 21,970 -12.6% -21.9%
     Weeks paid 54,168 65,707 80,825 -17.6% -33.0%
     Amount paid $19,799,009 $24,821,796 $29,333,356 -20.2% -32.5%