The monthly unemployment report is out today. “Our August unemployment rate stayed the same as the previous month at 4.5 percent, that’s down from 4.7 percent for August of last year, and still below the national rate of 6.1 percent,” according to Kerry Koonce of Iowa Workforce Development.
Small gains in the job market were offset by some losses.”Overall we just added 200 jobs across the economy. The largest areas of gains were in the professional and business services and then in the leisure and hospitality — both of those adding 12-hundred,” Koonce explains. “The largest loss was 11-hundred in construction. This time of year some things are starting to slow down — they are finishing summer projects — that’s why you see those numbers.”
Koonce says there usually is not a lot of movement as summer winds down. “It’s typical this time of year, you had jobs added and people going back to work in the spring, and the construction industry kind of tables off here in the summer while they are not adding more. Then we’ll see some transition again as we move back into the fall,” according to Koonce. The unemployment rate started the year at 4.3 percent and moved up slightly for two months to 4.5, dropped back to 4.3 in April, moved to 4.4 in May and held in June.It then moved to 4.5 in July and August.
Koonce doesn’t expect a lot more movement the rest of this year. “I would guess that we’re probably going to hold in this low four range — for at least the rest of this year. We will have to see what the rest of the year brings, but probably hanging in the low four areas for the rest of 2014,” Koonce says. The total estimated number of unemployed Iowans remained at 76,700 in August. The current estimate is 1,400 lower than one year ago.
The jobs report finds nonfarm employment continuing to trend upward, adding 18,000 jobs annually (1.2 percent). The professional and business services sector has added the most private industry jobs (+3,200), and has been fueled by strengthened staffing in administrative and support positions. The education and health services sector also remains significantly up (+2,700) due primarily to growth in health care industries (+2,000). The information services sector remains the only sector to trail last year’s level (-600).