Iowa Workforce Development released the unemployment numbers for March today. Workforce Development spokesperson Kerri Koonce says the unemployment rate dropped down to 4.9-percent in March compared to 5-percent in February.
The rate last March was 5.4-percent, and the national rate for March was 7.6-percent. While the unemployment rate dropped, the number of nonfarm jobs also dropped by 5,500. It was the first job loss since December.
“We did lose some nonfarm jobs because of the seasonably adjusted nature of some of them. March was a colder and wetter month than usual, so some of the seasonal hiring that typically takes place in construction and hospitality didn’t happen. And plus the size of the labor force grew which is why you see the drop in the unemployment rate,” Koonce says.
“So, when you kind of put it all together — it looks a little different — but the numbers are accurate.” Koonce says the delay in some work due to the weather could change and impact the jobs picture for April.
“We are just not seeing as many of the construction crews maybe returning as quickly, especially those that are in road construction. That’s really kind of taken off in the last week or two here, so I think when we see April numbers we will see a big difference there,” Koonce says.
Overall, Koonce says the number of unemployed people in the state was 80,700 in March. “And that number keeps continuing to go down, and it’s about eight thousand less than it was last year as well,” Koonce says.
Manufacturing lead all sectors in annual job gains, up 7,000. Education and health services is up 2,000 jobs over the year, followed by financial activities, up 1,700.
Information services saw the largest job losses from one year ago at 1,400, and construction showed a loss of 800 from one year ago.