Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 2.8 Percent in March

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: April 20, 2018
Contact: Cory Kelly
Telephone: 515-330-5646
Email:  cory.kelly@iwd.iowa.gov

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Status of the Iowa Workforce

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 2.8 Percent in March

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent in March. The state’s jobless rate was 3.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in March.

“Iowa's economy continued to show overall gains in job growth with a drop in the unemployment rate in March to 2.8 percent," said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. "Iowa has added a net of 10,600 jobs since last March including manufacturing jobs that increased by 10,400 alone. Iowa currently has 224,200 manufacturing jobs and the number is trending upward. Increasing the skilled worker labor pool continues to be a pressing issue and the unanimous passage of the Future Ready Iowa Act by the Legislature, signed by Governor Reynolds on April 3, is a significant step in addressing that need." 

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 47,300 in March from 47,900 in February. The current estimate is 8,200 lower than the year ago level of 55,500. 

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,626,100 in March. This figure was 500 higher than February and 300 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa businesses shed 600 jobs from payrolls in March, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,582,100 jobs. This is the second decline to begin 2018, and this month’s loss was localized entirely within private services. Goods producing industries added jobs for the second consecutive month. Private services shed 2,100 jobs, completely offsetting a gain of 1,700 last month. Government was little changed versus February and is up 500 jobs compared to last March.

Construction sectors added the most jobs in March (+1,300), marking the second consecutive increase in jobs. This sector experienced declines throughout most of 2017 and to begin the year, so the monthly gains are welcomed news for this industry. Professional, scientific, and technical services advanced by 700 jobs, partially due to gains in law offices and tax preparation services. Elsewhere, gains were seen in finance and insurance (+500), transportation (+300), and arts and entertainment (+300). Alternatively, losses continued to plague retail, which shed 1,800 jobs in March. This sector has steadily trended down since October. Accommodations and food services also lost jobs this month (-1,100) and have lost 1,800 jobs thus far this year. Smaller losses this month included private education (-500), other services (-500), and wholesale trade (-200).

Since last March, a total of 10,600 jobs have been added. Manufacturing continues to trend upward and has increased by 10,400 jobs alone. Durable goods factories have contributed 7,900 jobs added versus 2,500 in nondurable goods workshops. Finance and insurance industries experienced a surge in hiring to end the year and now rests up 2,900 jobs since last March, matching the annual gains in healthcare and social assistance. Following recent declines, retail now trails last year’s mark by 4,600 jobs. Construction also lags behind last year’s level (-3,900); however, this number has been declining as construction has shown signs of hiring over the past few months.

MEDIA ALERT:  An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide data for April 2018 will be released on Friday, May 18, 2018. Local data for April will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
        Change from
  March February March February March
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
           
Civilian labor force 1,673,400 1,673,500 1,681,300 -100 -7,900
Unemployment 47,300 47,900 55,500 -600 -8,200
Unemployment rate 2.8% 2.9% 3.3% -0.1 -0.5
Employment 1,626,100 1,625,600 1,625,800 500 300
           
U.S. unemployment rate 4.1% 4.1% 4.5% 0.0 -0.4
           
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
           
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,582,100 1,582,700 1,571,500 -600 10,600
Mining 2,400 2,400 2,400 0 0
Construction 74,700 73,400 78,600 1,300 -3,900
Manufacturing 224,200 224,000 213,800 200 10,400
Trade, transportation and utilities 312,900 314,600 315,200 -1,700 -2,300
Information 22,000 21,800 21,900 200 100
Financial activities 111,600 111,100 108,400 500 3,200
Professional and business services 142,100 141,500 138,700 600 3,400
Education and health services 232,400 232,800 232,200 -400 200
Leisure and hospitality 144,600 145,400 143,200 -800 1,400
Other services 55,200 55,700 57,600 -500 -2,400
Government 260,000 260,000 259,500 0 500
 (above data subject to revision)          

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
           
        % Change from
  March February March February March
  2018 2018 2017 2018 2017
           
Initial claims 9,153 8,792 9,883 4.1% -7.4%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 34,536 36,782 39,494 -6.1% -12.6%
     Weeks paid 112,805 126,140 149,680 -10.6% -24.6%
     Amount paid $44,483,558 $49,966,106 $57,444,559 -11.0% -22.6%

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