Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady in October at 6.7 percent.
“We’re kind of in a holding pattern and we’ll probably see over the next several months our unemployment rate slowly decline,” says Kerry Koonce of the Iowa Workforce Development agency. “It’ll be well into 2011 before we see every month, continually, adding high numbers of jobs.”
Just over 8000 Iowans landed a new job in October according to the latest government data. “We added a large portion of our jobs in the professional and business services area and most of that fell into what we call temporary hiring and staffing agencies and you tend to see a lot of that as a state is coming out of a recession,” Koonce says. “Employers will see that there’s growth out there, the economy’s getting better and their sales are getting better, but they just don’t want to add full-time, permanent employees yet, so they’ll add temporary staff.”
Another 2400 Iowans got jobs in education and the health care field. “And overwhelmingly the majority of that was in health services. That’s an area that’s continued to grow during the recession, but 2400 jobs at one time is a large number, so that’s positive as well as another 1100 in the financial services area,” Koonce says. “That’s another area that’s still showing positive growth.”
The growth in the state’s health care sector in October isn’t tied to nursing school graduations or other timing factors. It’s about demand, according to Koonce. “Our population is older,” Koonce says, “so we tend to always have a need for health care.”
Over 1.5 million Iowans were in the workforce in October. The Iowa Workforce Development agency reports about 112,000 Iowans were unemployed in October.