December 26, 2014

Number of Iowans with jobs hits all time high

The state unemployment rate in June held steady at four-point-six percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says it’s the fourth straight month where the rate has not increased after dropping slightly each of the last three months.

“We had growth in the civilian labor force still and still significant growth in jobs. The unemployment number holds steady because of the change in the labor force — the people employed — and then the number of individuals unemployed rose just a little bit,” Koonce says, “but it still holds our number steady because of the growth in the overall labor force.”

The number of unemployed Iowans jumped by 100 in June to 76,500. But Koonce says the number of people working also increased.

“Our total nonfarm employment, which is at one-million-530-thousand-300, is actually an all time high. We were at one-million-528-thousand back in May of 2008. And that’s the last high we hit,” Koonce says.

She talks about the areas that saw job growth. “It was kind of spread across the board this time. We had a significant amount of growth in construction, we also had a significant amount of growth in the leisure and hospitality, strong growth in the professional and business services area, and those were the three areas with the largest amount of growth,” according to Koonce. “We still saw some growth in manufacturing, financial services and those kinds of things.”

Koonce says there were not many negatives in the report. “The only areas that we lost anything in were mining — which is a very small part of the economy here — educational and health services and then government,” Koonce says. Construction jobs have been surging with better weather, and Koonce doesn’t expect that trend to change.

Koonce says, “We expect construction to be strong throughout the year. There’s a lot of growth going into housing, in commercial construction, so that’s an area that should see growth yet for several months.” The unemployment rate for June was well below the 5.3-percent for June of last year.

The 4.6-percent rate is also 3-percent below the national rate in June, which was also unchanged.