State’s unemployment rate drops to 5.1 percent
DES MOINES — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent in October from 5.2 percent in September and was also down from 5.8 percent one year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent in October from 7.8 percent in September, but was one percentage point lower than the year ago rate of 8.9 percent.
“The Iowa job market looked a little stronger in October, as the state’s unemployment rate continued to drop and hiring strengthened across most industry sectors,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Nonfarm jobs advanced by 6,000 in October, the largest monthly gain since February.”
The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 83,800 in October from 85,500 in September. The estimate was reported at 96,000 one year ago.
The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,555,800 in October from 1,552,100 in September, the first positive movement in the measure since April. Total employment stood at 1,566,700 one year ago.
Iowa’s nonfarm employment increased by 6,000 jobs in October, bringing the total to 1,496,300. This month’s increase was the largest since February, when 7,500 jobs were added. All the gains occurred in the private sector in both the goods-producing and service providing industries, up 2,000 and 4,000, respectively. Government was unchanged. Nonfarm employment is now up 15,300 jobs compared to one year ago.
Leisure and hospitality posted a gain of 2,600 in October to lead all sectors. Much of the increase (+1,400) was reflected in accommodations and food services and was due to increased demand at eating and drinking places. This month’s increase in leisure and hospitality reverses three consecutive months of declines.
Education and health services also posted a solid gain this month, with the increase of 1,800 evenly divided between education and health.
After paring jobs in each of the last three months, manufacturing added 1,500 jobs in October with gains reflected in both durable goods (+800) and nondurable goods (+700) factories.
Smaller gains were reported for construction (+500) and information (+400).
On the other hand, super sector losses were heaviest in trade and transportation (-800), and due mostly to a decrease in wholesale trade related to machinery and equipment sales.
The only other decrease this month was a small drop in financial activities (-300).
Compared to last October, manufacturing continues to lead all super sectors in job growth (+8,200). Despite the monthly drop, financial activities remains second in annual growth (+2,900), followed by construction (+2,000). The only sector to fall short of last year’s level is trade and transportation, which is down 2,000. The sector has suffered primarily from a long-term sluggishness in retail trade (-3,600), and an increasingly contracting transportation segment (-600).