For the first time in nearly three years, Iowa’s jobless rate reached 4.3 percent in July. That’s according to new figures from Iowa Workforce Development. Spokesperson Kerry Koonce credits business disruptions caused by spring flooding and believes the situation will improve soon. "Comparing it to the 1993 flooding, we saw the jobs come back up within in a very short time period. So, that is what we would expect again," Koonce said.
The July jobless rate increased from 4.0 percent in June. Koonce says the mortgage crisis is partly to blame. "Of course the housing market has been slowing down nationwide and those effects have been seen in Iowa, particularly in the residential construction and construction related manufacturing industries," Koonce said.
Compared to the overall U.S. economy, Iowa is doing relatively well. Nationally, in the last year, the unemployment rate has jumped from 4.7 to 5.7 percent. At the same time, Iowa’s figures have moved from 3.8 to 4.3 percent. "So we’re not seeing the effects of the slowdown in the economy at the level the nation has seen," Koonce said.
A total of 1,605,200 Iowans were employed in July. The number of unemployed persons in the state increased to 72,500 in July from 66,900 in June. The manufacturing sector lost 1,300 over the one month period. Those losses were nearly offset by gains of 600 jobs in both education and trade and transportation.