Iowa’s jobless rate is the lowest it’s been in four years. Iowa Workforce Development analyst Ann Wagner says the news for the month of April was mixed, but the unemployment rate dropped to three-point-six-percent.
Wagner says haven’t seen a jobless rate that low, she says, since that’s the lowest it’s been since January of 2002. Wagner says the total number of people unemployed in the state dropped to 59-thousand 800 for the month of April, down from one year ago when unemployment was a full percentage point higher and the total jobless number stood at 76-thousand, 200 people.
While the recovery appears steady, Wagner says job growth hasn’t been particularly strong. It was weak in nonfarm jobs, which were down by 1200 in Iowa, and only two industries grew in the month of April. Education and health combined were up about 11-hundred workers, and the leisure and hospitality business grew by 700 jobs.
But Wagner says the sluggishness in new-job creation is not expected to continue.
She says it’s likely it was a one-month aberration and with the amount of investment taking place, nonfarm jobs are expected to pick up again throughout the rest of the year. County-by-county statistics haven’t yet been posted, and Wagner says they’ll show the ups and downs of local communities that aren’t all having smooth growth this year.
Two meat-processing plants closed in eastern Iowa, one in Oelwein and the larger in Independence with 300 workers. That’ll mean higher unemployment rates in Fayette and Buchanan Counties than in some others. Workers who learned this month they’ll lose their jobs with the Whirlpool takeover of Newton’s Maytag plant still have a few weeks left on the job, and Wagner says it’ll be later this year before the effect of the plant’s closing shows up in the jobless figures.
Jasper County will have “a very high unemployment rate” when that happens, and she says it will also be reflected in neighboring Marshall, Tama, Poweshiek and Marion counties as there are a lot of workers there who’ve commuted to the Maytag plant.