The state’s unemployment rate move up slightly in February — but a state expert says that’s not an indication the economy has slowed down. Ann Wagner of Iowa Workforce Development says the increase is due to people being more interested in getting a job. Wagner says the rate is based on a household survey and she says the survey in February found more people were looking for work. Wagner says the additional people looking for a job caused the unemployment rate to move from four-point-one percent in January, to four-point-four percent in February.
Wagner says the other numbers behind the unemployment rate show a strong economy. She says the labor force hit a peak of one-million-672-thousand-900 and she says the total number of employed people hit a record one-million-600-thousand. Wagner says the number of non-farm jobs has also hit a record.
Wagner says one area has been a leader in the jobs market. She says there was a large gain in February in the professional and business services area — which she says has benefited from a health manufacturing industry.
Wendell Bailey, a spokesman for the U.S. Small Business Administration, sees Iowa’s job picture isn’t quite the same as other states. “One of the more interesting things that I saw in this is that Iowa picked up manufacturing jobs,” Bailey says.
From February of last year to February of this year, Iowa manufacturing companies added 63-hundred jobs. “Of course small business contributes over half of the new jobs that are created, so we’re proud of our small businesses in Iowa,” Bailey says.
Bailey, who works in the S-B-A office in Kansas City, says the education and health services sectors added 58-hundred jobs in the past 12 months. The U.S. unemployment rate also went up slightly to four-point-eight percent in February.