Unemployment rates steady

IOWA — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent in September.

The state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September.

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said Iowa’s labor force participation rate has steadily increased with 7,900 more Iowans in the workforce since August.

“Although unemployment remains low for our state, there are still tens of thousands of positions open,” Townsend said. “During the Future Ready Iowa Summits, many employers and community members have come forward with innovative solutions for recruiting skilled workers and retaining them in the state. We look forward to hearing more from employers during the remaining summits, in which you can still register at FutureReadyIowa.gov/registration.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 44,200 in September from 43,800 in August. The current estimate is 4,200 higher than the year ago level of 40,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,694,200 in September. This figure was 7,900 higher than August and 45,200 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment

According to Iowa Workforce Development, the total nonfarm employment in Iowa decreased slightly in September with a loss of 400, the first monthly decline since March. Although there were some signs of hiring in the private sector, seasonal gains in government education were less than expected and more than matched the private sector growth. Government shed a combined 1,200 jobs in September, but still hovers 2,100 jobs higher than last year’s mark. Private industries gained 800 jobs in September and have risen by 10,600 jobs annually.

Within private sectors, the largest monthly movement in September was in financial activities, with an increase of 900. This sector has been showing signs of cutbacks throughout 2019, although there were job gains in each of the last two months. Whereas insurance carriers and related activities have expanded versus one year ago, credit intermediation has been generally flat since last September. Construction fared well in September and gained 800 jobs as projects continued later into the season. This sector has now added jobs in every month since April. Retail provided an unexpected gain to the trade, transportation, and utilities supersector which added 500 jobs.

Private-sector losses were generally light in September. Leisure and hospitality had a drop of 700 jobs due to losses in accommodations and food services. Eating and drinking establishments were responsible for most of this monthly loss. Professional and business services pared 400 jobs with losses being concentrated in administrative support and waste management services. Manufacturing again posted a monthly loss of 200 as nondurable goods factories reduced staff. This is now the third-consecutive decrease for manufacturing.

Annually, Iowa establishments have gained 12,700 jobs over last year’s mark, according to Iowa Workforce Development. Although manufacturing has shown some recent weakness in nondurable goods manufacturing it still leads all supersectors in annual job gains of 4,800. Construction has reemerged recently as a job creator following a dismal first quarter and now rests 3,300 jobs above last year. The only supersectors losing jobs annually are information, with a loss of 1,300 and mining, with a loss of 100.

This news release was sent to the Herald.

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