Unemployment rate drops to 5.2 percent in September
DES MOINES — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in September from 5.5 percent in August.
The comparable rate for September 2011 was 5.9 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate for September also decreased by three-tenths of a percentage point, falling to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent in August.
“The drop in the September jobless rate was welcome news, but we are still cautious about the job market” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The employment numbers continued to depict a slow and uneven recovery.”
The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 85,800 in September from 89,700 in August. The drop of 3,900 in unemployment represented the largest monthly loss in this measure for the year. The level of unemployed stood at 97,500 one year ago.
The total number of working Iowans showed little change in September, edging down to 1,552,200 from an August level of 1,552,600. Total employment was reported at 1,563,000 one year ago.
Iowa’s nonfarm employment shed 4,200 jobs this month, dropping to a total of 1,489,600. Much of the loss was expected, and occurred in local government as the majority of local school employees was added last month. Total nonfarm employment had increased in each of the last two months.
Construction led all sectors in job growth in September for a monthly gain of 2,200 jobs. The increase puts this sector back into the positive year-over-year column, and ends a string of five consecutive months of losses.
Professional and business services advanced by 1,300 after two consecutive monthly losses.
Trade and transportation pared 700 jobs, which was reflected in wholesale trade (-400) and transportation (-600).
Manufacturing was down by 600, as gains in nondurable goods factories (+1,000) were offset by losses in durable goods factories (-1,600). Finally, an unexpected decline in health care accounted for the overall drop of 500 in education and health services.
Compared to last year, nonfarm employment is up 11,500 jobs. Despite the sector’s recent weakness, manufacturing continues to lead all super sectors in over-the-year job growth (+7,700). Financial activities is a distant second (+2,800), and construction ranks in third place (+1,800).
On the other hand, losses have occurred in retail trade since February, and have caused much of the annual drop in trade and transportation (-1,900).