The state’s unemployment rate fell slightly last month. Iowa’s jobless rate dropped one-tenth of one percentage point, from 6.7% in October to 6.6% in November. Those figures are just slightly above the 6.5% from a year ago, according to Kerry Koonce, spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development.
Koonce says, “The national unemployment rate is actually at 9.8% so we’re well over 3% below the national rate, which is very good.” Koonce says Iowa lost jobs in a few key industries during the month, but also saw healthy gains elsewhere.
“Our education and health services actually lost a few jobs which is kind of unusual, most of those in the education area,” Koonce says. “Leisure and hospitality added 1,400 jobs, which is very good for that industry at this time of year. We added 1,300 jobs in construction and that’s mostly been due to that fact that through November they were still able to work outside.”
Those construction numbers will drop in December, she says, as the icy weather of winter has arrived.
The numbers include both part-time and full-time work and Koonce says Iowa did -not- see much of a gain in the traditional seasonal employment figures during November, as fewer merchants took on temporary holiday help.
“If you think about what’s been going on in the retail industry, they started a lot of their sales very early,” Koonce says. “They didn’t just focus on that traditional weekend after Thanksgiving for the shopping. A lot of outlets have been able to maintain their staff as they’ve had business spread out over a longer period of time instead of that large hit starting right after Thanksgiving.”
For the month, the total number of jobless Iowans was down to around 110,000, while the number of working Iowans rose slightly to more than 1,564,000. The economic recovery is expected to strengthen in 2011, Koonce says, which should help to create more job opportunities for the state’s unemployed.