IOWA —An increase in the state’s labor force drove Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate up to 2.6 percent.
According to a news release from Iowa Workforce Development, the state’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent one year ago. The labor force participation rate rose to 70.4 percent in October from 70.1 percent in September. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent in October.
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said While Iowa saw a small increase in the number of unemployed in October, there was also an increase of 9,100 more Iowans in the workforce than in September.
“Over the past 12 months we have seen more than 52,000 Iowans join the workforce,” she said. “Employers continue to face a shortage of skilled workers and there are currently over 60,000 job postings on www.IowaWorks.gov. Future Ready Iowa and our partners, the community colleges, are well positioned to help address this shortage through their effort to award thousands of Last-Dollar scholarships in high-demand occupations.”
The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 45,100 in October from 44,200 in September. According to the news release, the current estimate is 5,100 higher than the year-ago level of 40,000.
The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,703,400 in October. This figure was 9,100 higher than September and 52,600 higher than one year ago.
Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment
According to the news release, hiring in Iowa slowed in October with payrolls remaining virtually unchanged as compared to September. A slight loss within private establishments (-400) was exactly offset by small gains in local and state government. Overall, half of all private super sectors posted the same job level in October that they had in September. The lack of movement this month halts six consecutive months of job gains for the state stretching back to April and leaves total nonfarm employment in Iowa up 7,800 jobs over-the-year (+0.5 percent).
Within private services, job growth this month was centered around professional and business services (+500), or more specifically, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector. This is the second straight month this sector has advanced, adding over 900 jobs since August. Job losses this month were generally small and led by financial activities (-400). Much of this loss was within credit intermediation and related activities. Insurance carriers and related activities have fared slightly better and helped mitigate some of this decrease. All other losses were small and included construction, other services, and education and health services, all of which combined for a loss of 500 jobs.
Manufacturing has continued, over the past year, to lead all supersectors in terms of job growth (+2,800), according to the news release. This is contrary to the fact that Iowa’s factories have not combined for a monthly job gain since the recent high established in June, when this sector topped at 229,900 jobs. Durable goods continue to comprise most of the gain (+2,800) with nondurable goods shops now paring jobs in each of the last four months.
Construction had a small decline in October but remains up 1,600 jobs with growth being particularly strong in the Des Moines Metro area, according to the news release. Annual losses continue to be highest in information services (-1,500). This sector continues to structurally change away from print and wired media and become less labor-intensive as new technologies advance. Leisure and hospitality now trail last year’s mark by 1,000 jobs due to accommodations and food services staff reductions over the past three months.