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IOWA NEWS

Iowa’s unemployment rate decreases to 3.2 percent

Oct 23, 2017

DES MOINES — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.2 percent for September. The state’s jobless rate was 3.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in September.

“The state’s unemployment rate trended back down to 3.2 percent in September following a slight increase last month,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development director. “Both the labor force and the number of working Iowans improved this month. These gains are important to allow for businesses to expand and to continue economic growth.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 54,600 in September. The current estimate is 7,300 lower than the year ago level of 61,900.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,632,300 in September. This figure was 4,500 higher than August and 4,400 lower than one year ago.

Iowa establishments shed 4,000 jobs in September, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,586,600 jobs. This was the state’s first loss since April and only the third decline this year. Private services were responsible for the majority of the losses this month (-3,300). Government pared 900 jobs, primarily within state government, and is now down 1,300 jobs versus last year. On the other hand, private industries have combined for 15,500 jobs added over the past 12 months.

Education and health services pared 4,500 jobs since August to lead all super sectors. Losses were nearly identical between healthcare and social assistance and educational services. This is the first time since last year that this combined super sector has shed jobs monthly. The loss is partially the result of weaker than expected seasonal hiring in education. Professional and business services shed 1,500 jobs, marking the third loss in the last four months. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector has been responsible for the majority of the losses during that span.

Other losses this month were smaller in nature and included trade and transportation (-500) and construction (-400).

Conversely, Iowa businesses experienced strong hiring in accommodations and food services this month leading to a gain of 2,100 in leisure and hospitality. Financial activities also rebounded following an unexpected decline last month and added 1,200 jobs. The only other sector to add jobs this month was manufacturing (+600) which was mostly fueled by hiring in nondurable goods factories.

Since last September, no sector has fared better than education and healthcare services (+4,900). All of the annual growth has been in healthcare and social assistance. The financial activities sector has also continued to trend upward and now stands 4,200 jobs above last year’s mark. Leisure and hospitality has gained 4,000 jobs due entirely to strong hiring in accommodations and food services. Private sector losses have been limited to construction (-6,600) and information services (-1,600).

Visit www.iowalmi.gov for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

Statewide data for October will be released Nov. 17. Local data for October will be posted to the IWD website Nov. 21.

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