Iowa's Unemployment Rate Remains at 2.5 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: September 20, 2019
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116
Email:  molly.elder@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa's Unemployment Rate Remains at 2.5 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent in August. The state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in August.

"In August, we saw another increase in the number of working Iowans in the labor force, up 5,800 from last month,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Even with the increase in the number of Iowans working, employers are still in search of skilled workers to fill tens of thousands of open jobs across the state.  At the Future Ready Iowa Fall Summits, employers are sharing successful strategies with each other including working with the disabled, returning citizens, as well as how easy registered apprenticeship programs are to create and maintain and the overwhelmingly positive benefit employers get from these programs. There's still plenty of time to attend a summit and you can register at FutureReadyIowa.gov/registration."  

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 43,800 in August from 42,800 in July. The current estimate is 3,600 higher than the year ago level of 40,200.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,686,200 in August. This figure was 5,800 higher than July and 39,300 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In August, Iowa’s business establishments gained a slight 300 jobs over July’s total and now rest at 1,595,200 jobs. Firms involved in goods production showed the most promise (+800), while private services were sluggish since July and trended down (-700). Government was fueled by hiring at the state level and advanced by 200 jobs.  This sector is now up 1,300 jobs annually.

Construction gained the most jobs in August (+1,000) and was bolstered by hiring in the construction of new residential and commercial buildings. This gain marks the fifth consecutive advancement for this sector following a weak start to the year. Financial activities added jobs in August (+800). This was the first monthly gain since May and helps trim some of the losses stretching back to last year. Professional and business services again added jobs (+600) with growth being concentrated within administrative support and waste management services. Losses this month were deepest in the education and health care super sector (-1,600). Virtually all the decline was due to reductions in staffing in the health care and social assistance sector. This drop would almost certainly be a temporary correction in payroll and not indicative of any long term trend for this sector. Trade, transportation, and utilities pared 400 jobs due to continued sluggishness in the retail sector.

Over the past twelve months, Iowa has trended up and is 12,600 jobs higher than last August. Despite two small declines over the past two months, manufacturing continues to be the catalyst of job growth (+6,500). Durable goods factories have provided more new jobs than non-durable goods shops. The other services sector advanced by 2,500 jobs and construction is now up 2,300 jobs annually. Those sectors paring jobs since last year are information services (-1,300), financial activities (-700), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-600).

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for August will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Statewide data for September 2019 will be released on Friday, October 18, 2019.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  August July August July August
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Civilian labor force 1,729,900 1,723,200 1,687,100 6,700 42,800
Unemployment 43,800 42,800 40,200 1,000 3,600
Unemployment rate 2.5% 2.5% 2.4% 0.0 0.1
Employment 1,686,200 1,680,400 1,646,900 5,800 39,300
           
U.S. unemployment rate 3.7% 3.7% 3.8% 0.0 -0.1
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,595,200 1,594,900 1,582,600 300 12,600
Mining 2,400 2,400 2,500 0 -100
Construction 80,200 79,200 77,900 1,000 2,300
Manufacturing 229,200 229,400 222,700 -200 6,500
Trade, transportation and utilities 311,600 312,000 312,200 -400 -600
Information 20,800 20,600 22,100 200 -1,300
Financial activities 108,500 107,700 109,200 800 -700
Professional and business services 142,500 141,900 140,300 600 2,200
Education and health services 234,700 236,300 234,600 -1,600 100
Leisure and hospitality 143,700 143,900 143,300 -200 400
Other services 59,600 59,700 57,100 -100 2,500
Government 262,000 261,800 260,700 200 1,300
 (above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  August July August July August
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Initial claims 9,104 11,687 8,096 -22.1% 12.5%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 18,863 20,070 18,706 -6.0% 0.8%
     Weeks paid 57,894 69,778 65,493 -17.0% -11.6%
     Amount paid $21,914,293 $25,851,912 $23,898,854 -15.2% -8.3%

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LMI