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Dec 18

Iowa unemployment rate drops again

unemploymentDES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued to drop in November, falling to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent in October.

“That’s the lowest since 2001 and 6th lowest in the nation!” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said Friday via social media.

The state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent in November.

“Iowa’s businesses showed unmistakable optimism in November,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “This month’s increase is the highest in several years and includes job gains in virtually all industries. Additionally, Iowa’s unemployment rate trended down to the lowest level since 2001.”

The number of unemployed Iowans fell to 58,700 in November from 60,400 in October. The current estimate is 15,000 lower than the year ago level of 73,700.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,500 in November. This figure was 3,100 higher than October and 6,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa’s total nonfarm employment advanced by 8,400 jobs in November and now rests at 1,584,700 jobs. This month’s unusually large increase follows a quiet October which saw almost no change in the number of jobs. Private industries combined for all of the gain this month; government pared 600 jobs with losses at the state and local level. Overall, employment in the state has continued to trend up, and Iowa has added an average of 2,300 jobs per month totaling 27,300 jobs added over the past twelve months. Private industries have advanced by 28,200 jobs and government is down slightly (-900).

This month, virtually all private industries expanded. The largest private sector gain was in construction (+3,700) and follows consecutive months of declines totaling 1,500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality also increased this month (+3,300) with hiring being heaviest in accommodations and food services. Like construction, this sector is also rebounding from a recent loss. Elsewhere, retail trade helped fuel a gain of 2,300 in trade, transportation, and warehousing. Smaller gains occurred in financial activities (+600) and education and health services (+400). Losses this month were limited to professional and business services (-2,100) and follows three consecutive months of unusually high gains.

Since last November, the largest annual increase occurred in construction (+7,200). This sector has also added the most jobs by percentage (+9.3 percent versus +1.8 percent for Iowa). Education and health is second in terms of growth (+5,400) followed by leisure and hospitality (+4,400). Information services leads all private sectors in jobs lost (-600) due to restructuring and transformation of the sector. Manufacturing is down due to cutbacks within durable goods factories (-500). These losses have been partially offset by hiring at nondurable goods locations.

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