Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: September 20, 2016
Contact: Courtney Maxwell Greene
Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Trends Up to 4.2 Percent in August
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.2 percent in August from 4.1 percent in July. The state’s jobless rate was 3.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in August.
“While the unemployment rate ticked up again in August, there were a few bright spots,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The total number of working Iowans also increased by 1,700 from July and 3,600 higher than a year ago. Additionally, for the third consecutive month, Iowa businesses expanded their payrolls and added 4,900 jobs, raising the total number of working Iowans. Iowa’s unemployment rate also remains 0.7% lower than the national rate.”
The number of unemployed Iowans rose to 72,700 in August from 70,700 in July. The current estimate is 11,500 higher than the year ago level of 61,200.
The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,642,300 in August. This figure was 1,700 higher than July and 3,600 higher than one year ago.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
For the third consecutive month, Iowa businesses expanded their payrolls and added 4,900 jobs, raising the total to 1,590,600. Both goods-producing and service sectors gained jobs this month with private services adding the majority (2,900). Government added jobs at the local level and is 4,800 higher annually; however, this gain is partially due to seasonal staff being retained and brought back earlier than usual this year. Compared to last year, the state has added 31,200 jobs, a gain of 2.0 percent.
Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs in August (1,400), with the gains evenly split between arts and entertainment and accommodations and food services. Despite recent uncertainty within the economy, staffing patterns in these industries has been strong, a reassuring sign that consumers are still willing to part with disposable income on non-essentials. Elsewhere, trade and transportation was bolstered by retail trade hiring and added 1,300 jobs. Retail in Iowa has not fared well recently, adding jobs in only three months in 2016. Other gains this month included financial activities, construction, manufacturing, and other services. Losses were small by comparison and were led by professional and business services (-600). Despite a sizable gain last month, this sector has pared jobs in three of the last four months. The only other losses were small declines in education and health services and information.
Annually, construction continues to expand over last year’s level and is now up 14,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality is a distant second with 5,800 jobs gained, then other services at 4,300. Manufacturing continues to lag due to durable goods layoffs (-5,000), and this stagnation may now be carrying over into professional and business services—down 2,900 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 September will be released on Friday, October 21, 2016. Local data for September will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.