Iowa's Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly to 2.7 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: January 24, 2020
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116
Email:  molly.elder@iwd.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly to 2.7 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.7 percent in December. The state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.5 percent in December.

  “Given the holidays and weather in December, it was not surprising to see a slight increase in the unemployment rate.  Still, Iowa’s workforce grew by 4,400 jobs in December and has grown by 64,900 since the previous December,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “We continue to have more jobs than people to fill them and programs like Future Ready Iowa will help Iowans get the training they need for high-demand occupations and employers to find the talent pipeline they continue to need."

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 47,200 in December from 46,200 in November. The current estimate is 6,800 higher than the year ago level of 40,400.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,716,100 in December. This figure was 4,400 higher than November and 64,900 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa’s total nonfarm employment trended down in December and shed 3,100 jobs. This is the second consecutive month that firms trimmed payrolls following a loss of 2,300 jobs in November. Goods producing sectors were lifted by unusual hiring in the construction sector, but private services declined again this month. Government lost 900 jobs in December but remains up 2,000 jobs versus one year ago.

Manufacturing posted the largest loss in December (-1,400) and has now pared jobs in six consecutive months following a recent high in June. Durable goods factories have been most affected with 1,900 jobs shed over the past three months. Professional and business services were down in December (-1,200) due primarily to cutbacks in professional, scientific, and technical services. This decline follows a drop of 900 jobs last month. Truck transportation looked especially weak in December and transportation, warehousing, and utilities combined shed 1,400 jobs. On the other hand, construction posted an unusual increase in activity to end the year (+1,500). Most of these gains were in specialty trade contractors. Despite losses in October and November construction has generally been positive through much of the year. Leisure and hospitality also fared well to end the year (+1,200). Growth was split between entertainment and accommodations and food services.

Over the past twelve months, total nonfarm employment has edged down (-2,400). Trade, transportation, and utilities leads all sectors with 3,300 jobs shed. These losses are nearly even between retail trade and transportation and warehousing. Professional and business services have also been trending down recently (-2,900) with administrative support and waste management positions being most affected. Both financial services and manufacturing have shed 1,600 jobs annually. Alternatively, those sectors that have advanced compared to last December are construction (+4,500), other services (+1,500), and leisure and hospitality (+300).

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for December will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Statewide and local data for January 2020 will be released on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  December November December November December
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Civilian labor force 1,763,300 1,757,900 1,691,600 5,400 71,700
Unemployment 47,200 46,200 40,400 1,000 6,800
Unemployment rate 2.7% 2.6% 2.4% 0.1 0.3
Employment 1,716,100 1,711,700 1,651,200 4,400 64,900
           
U.S. unemployment rate 3.5% 3.5% 3.9% 0.0 -0.4
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,591,000 1,594,100 1,593,400 -3,100 -2,400
Mining 2,400 2,300 2,600 100 -200
Construction 81,400 79,900 76,900 1,500 4,500
Manufacturing 226,500 227,900 228,100 -1,400 -1,600
Trade, transportation and utilities 310,700 311,900 314,000 -1,200 -3,300
Information 21,000 20,800 21,700 200 -700
Financial activities 107,700 107,800 109,300 -100 -1,600
Professional and business services 140,100 141,300 143,000 -1,200 -2,900
Education and health services 234,300 235,300 234,700 -1,000 -400
Leisure and hospitality 145,300 144,100 145,000 1,200 300
Other services 59,300 59,600 57,800 -300 1,500
Government 262,300 263,200 260,300 -900 2,000
(above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  December November December November December
  2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
           
Initial claims 30,805 17,463 22,799 76.4% 35.1%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 30,331 19,433 26,605 56.1% 14.0%
     Weeks paid 88,046 54,367 82,560 61.9% 6.6%
     Amount paid $35,184,401 $21,751,911 $31,987,365 61.8% 10.0%

 

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LMI