Figures released today from Iowa Workforce Development show unemployment dropped slightly in April to 5.1% compared to 5.2% in March. Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says it’s good news, but it doesn’t indicate just yet that the job outlook is turning around.

Koonce says a tenth of a percent change is not significant enough to know if things are turning around. She says they do know that the decrease was due to a a continued drop in claims for unemployment as some manufacturers that had workers on temporary layoff brought some workers back. Koonce says they need a couple more months to see if the economy is turning around.

Koonce says they want to see a quarter or so of rates on the increase before they can say the economy is on the mend. Koonce says the state overall lost 1,600 jobs, which was well below the 9,300 lost in March. She says gains in some areas offset some of the loses.

Koonce says the state added 2,000 jobs in the trades, transportation and utilities area, with most of those being in transportation. Government added 1,700 jobs, with many of those being at state and federal parks. Koonce says there was an increase of 100 jobs in manufacturing, the first time manufacturing gains since August of 2008.

She says there were significant loses in leisure and hospitality industries of 1,700 jobs, when there’s generally an increase at this time of year. And there was a loss of 1,900 jobs in construction. The April rate of 5.1% is well above last year’s April rate of 4%. It is still well below the national unemployment rate of 8.9%. 

You can see the unemployment report on the Iowa Workforce Development website.