The state’s unemployment rate dipped in March — while a record number of people were employed in "nonfarm" jobs.
Ann Wagner of the Iowa Workforce Development agency says both are a sign that the Iowa economy is "pretty solid." The unemployment rate in March fell to 3.2 percent. That is the lowest unemployment rate Iowa has recorded since May of 2001. According to Wagner, there were about 12,000 fewer unemployed Iowans last month as compared to a year ago.
Turning to the total number of people who are working in Iowa — with that new level of "nonfarm" employment, Wagner says businesses are beginning to find it difficult to fill open slots. "It’s not so much a matter of a shortage of bodies, it’s a shortage of certain skills," Wagner says. "…There are a lot of occupational shortages, a lot of things that require some education and training."
According to Wagner’s agency, 1,519,000 workers were employed in "nonfarm" jobs in March. Wagner’s assertion that employers are finding it difficult to fill skilled positions is borne out by the report which shows the number of workers hired to fill jobs actually dropped in March compared to higher job gains in January and February.