The state unemployment rate moved up slightly in August to 4.9-percent compared to 4.8-percent in July. Kerry Koonce of Iowa Workforce Development says there are a couple of factors involved. “The biggest thing that we saw was a just slight decrease in the over number of jobs –just under a thousand,” Koonce says. “And then our labor force grew again, but when that happens sometimes your number of unemployed also grows because people that had been discourage can come back and start looking for work, feeling that there’s a potential for that again.”
Koonce says this was only the second month this year that the number of jobs dropped. “We lost some in trade, transportation and utilities, and then in the professional and business areas, were where our biggest losses were,” according to Koonce. “But government had a big gain and of course that’s August where you have state government and local government where you teachers going back to work and those kinds of things.”
The government sector gain 3,700 new jobs. The unemployment rate for August of last year was at 5.3-percent, so Koonce says the slight bump up is not a worry. “It’s still very steady. Like I said, it’s only the second month in the entire year that we’ve had any decrease in jobs. And having the labor force grow is still very positive. We would expect to see that September will still see very solid numbers,” Koonce said.
It’s the second straight month the unemployment rate has gone up. Prior to July, the rate had dropped or held steady for four straight months. The national unemployment rate decreased in August, but is still well above Iowa’s rate at 7.3-percent.