Mar 26

Iowa’s unemployment rate increases to 3.7 percent in February

unemploymentDES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.7 percent in February. The state’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in February.

“This is the first increase in Iowa’s unemployment rate since 2009, and I’m not surprised,” said Iowa Workforce Director Beth Townsend. “Given the number of layoff announcements over recent months, I’m pleased the increase isn’t bigger. The silver lining for workers experiencing layoffs is, they are finding jobs, and Iowa Workforce Development stands ready to provide training and services to displaced workers.”

The number of unemployed Iowans rose to 63,000 in February from 60,200 in January. The current estimate is 800 lower than the year ago level of 63,800.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,651,100 in February. This figure was 1,900 higher than January and 13,700 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa businesses shed 6,200 jobs in February, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,574,400 jobs (-0.4 percent). This month’s decline is the first loss since September and follows an unusually high gain to start the year. Virtually all segments of the Iowa economy scaled back this month, with private sectors losing 5,000 jobs. Government was down 1,200 jobs due to a decline in local government. Government remains little changed versus last year (-100).

Private sector losses were largest in leisure and hospitality this month (-3,100). Accommodations and food services experienced most of the decline. Although the loss was large, it is the first since July for this super sector. Professional and business services trended down for the fourth consecutive month, fueled by losses in administrative and support services. Other losses this month included trade and transportation, information, manufacturing and other services. Conversely, education and health services added jobs this month (+2,200) and has been steadily climbing due to unyielding demand for health care services. The only other major sector to add employment this month was financial activities, up 500 jobs in February. Iowa’s finance industry has steadily advanced over the past several months with jobs last being pared in November 2014.

Despite the monthly decline, Iowa remains up 15,800 jobs compared to last February. Education and health services is now the leader in jobs added (+6,100) due entirely to hiring in health care fields. Construction changed little this month, but remains up 4,300 versus one year ago. Manufacturing continues to navigate the storm and remains down (-3,100). Other losses include professional and business services (-1,800) and information services (-1,600).

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