A new report shows Iowa’s unemployment rate bumped up slightly to 6.1 percent in March. February’s rate was 6 %. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Kerry Koonce says the national unemployment rate for March was 8.8 percent and has dropped a full 1% since November 2010.
Koonce says while Iowa’s jobless rate is holding fairly steady, there are some positive trends. “Our labor force continues to grow and we continue to have the ‘discouraged worker’ – the individual who had given up looking for work – coming back in because they see the economy is getting better and there’s more opportunity,” Koonce said. “That keeps the unemployment rate higher for a little while.”
Iowa added 4,400 jobs last month. That included 1,400 jobs in manufacturing, 1,100 in education/health services and 2,100 in leisure and hospitality. Trade and transportation also added 1,800 jobs. Professional and business services, meanwhile, dropped 1,300 jobs between February and March.
“That’s a very broad category,” Koonce said. “A lot of the temporary help that companies bring on when they’re starting to ramp back up falls into that category. So, you see the losses as they let temporary workers go and start to hire additional, permanent workers as well.”
Iowa has added jobs over five of the last six months. The number of unemployed Iowans in March rose to 102,700, but Koonce says it’s only because more “discouraged workers” resumed their job search.
“Compared to this time last year, the number of individuals filing for unemployment has dropped dramatically. It’s gone down by almost 23%, so that’s a very positive thing as well,” Koonce said.