Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.6% in January from the December rate of 6.5%. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the small increase is a positive sign. Koonce says when they look at trends in unemployment, they don’t see a tenth of a percent change over one month as being drastic, but instead say it is relatively stable.
Koonce says the total non-farm jobs increased by 4,600 in January, even though some industries saw a downturn. Koonce says the unemployment rate increased despite the new jobs as more people entered the job market.
Koonce says the change is the difference in the overall labor force and the number of people who’re considered unemployed. She says college graduates entered the labor force at the end of December and that led to the increase in the number of people looking for a job, which was not offset by the number of new jobs.
Iowa’s pool of unemployed workers increased to 111,000 in January from 109,800 in December. Koonce says the unemployment numbers have stayed steady the last several months, and that is a good sign.
Koonce says the economy is stabilizing, and while there will still be some layoffs over the next few months, it appears we have hit bottom. She says there should be more hiring in construction and other areas as we head into spring, and that will help the economy.
The state’s jobless rate one year ago in January was 5.2%. The national unemployment rate in January was down slightly to 9.7%.