The state’s unemployment rate edged up to 6.8% in March compared with 6.7% in February. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce says there’s good news despite the increase.

Koonce says it’s still a good news story as there were 7,300 jobs added, and it was the third consecutive month of job growth for the state. She says people who had given up on finding a job have now come back and that adds people to the labor force and causes the unemployment rate to go up.

Koonce says getting more people back in the workforce is a positive. She says it’s good because people see the economy in a positive light and see more opportunities are looking for jobs again. Koonce says most sectors saw job increases, including some important areas.

Koonce says the state added 1,400 jobs in manufacturing, which is a good economic indicator. She says there were 2,800 jobs in professional and business services, and new jobs in leisure and hospitality, as well as in government at the local and county level. Koonce says it will take time to achieve the strong and sustained job growth that is needed to significantly reduce the state’s unemployment rate.

Koonce says they still think it will be the third quarter of this year before the state gains back many of the jobs that have been lost and it starts to make an impact on the unemployment rate. The U.S. unemployment rate for March remained at 9.7%.