Unemployment rate drops to 4.4 percent in November
DES MOINES — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent in November from 4.6 percent in October, the lowest rate recorded since 2008. The comparable rate for November 2012 was 4.9 percent. The U.S. jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7.0 percent in November from 7.3 percent in October.
“The Iowa job market appears to be on a path of steady and sustainable improvement,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Workforce Development. “Combined job gains for October and November totaled 5,000, and the state’s unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point in five years.”
The statewide estimate of unemployed persons dropped to a current-year low of 72,500 in November from 75,700 in October. The number of unemployed stood at 79,600 in November 2012.
The total number of working Iowans continued on an upward course in November, climbing to 1,593,200 from 1,583,600 in October. The current figure is 44,900 higher than the November 2012 level of 1,548,300.
Total nonfarm employment gained 2,200 jobs in November, lifting the total employment level to 1,529,900 jobs in Iowa. This level is below the all-time high of 1,533,400 set in July; however, the gain is the second straight increase for the state due to an upward revision for October. Growth has been primarily due to private sector hiring, with both the goods-producing and service-providing sectors adding jobs in each of the last two months. The gains mean that Iowa has lost jobs in only three months throughout the calendar year. Alternatively, government again contracted with losses in state government (-200) and local government (-300). The public sectors have only added jobs on three occasions during the current year and continue to trend down versus last year’s level (-2,600 jobs or 1.4 percent).
Trade and transportation added the most jobs this month (+1,900), fueled by growth in transportation and warehousing. This sector was partially hampered by another disappointing loss in retail trade (-400), which marks the fourth straight drop for the subsector as stores deal with cautious consumer spending.
The other services sector added 1,100 jobs to partially recover from the larger-than-expected decline last month. This month’s gain for other services is the first since June. Construction was partially buoyed by specialty trade contractors, and added an unexpected 900 jobs. Iowa’s construction sector has had a prosperous year, adding jobs in seven of the last eight months, and is currently up 3,200 jobs compared to one year ago.
Losses this month were slight, and included education and health services (-1,100), manufacturing (-800) and financial activities (-400).
Compared to last year, nonfarm employment remains up 14,000 jobs (+0.9 percent). Professional and business services added the most jobs over the year (+5,300), followed by education and health services (+3,300) and construction (+3,200).
Despite a recent cooling, both manufacturing and finance are at higher levels than one year ago, up 2,100 jobs and 1,500 jobs, respectively.
Over-the-year losses were limited to two sectors: other services (-1,400) and information (-1,000).