The number of jobs created in the state in April fell, while more people began looking for jobs. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the result was another uptick in the unemployment rate. Koonce says the rate went up one tenth of one percent, while the national rate went up two-tenths of a percent.
“Not an uncommon thing to see when you are going through a recovery from a recession,” she explains, “since the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator.” The April unemployment rate was 6.9% compared to 6.8% in March, and 5.5% percent for the same month one year ago. Koonce says it takes some time for the number of new jobs to catch up with the people who want to fill them.
“When you go through a recession that’s as long as the one we went through, you end up with the discouraged working syndrome, where people who have lost their job give up looking. So they are no longer included in the labor force,” Koonce says. She says once those people start looking for work again, it increases the labor force, and that increase is larger than the new jobs, so the unemployment rate goes up.
Koonce says there are signs that some employers are slowly starting to add jobs. She says manufacturing added 2,900 jobs, and the professional and business services areas added 700 jobs, and there were a “smattering” of jobs added in the financial sector across the state. Overall though, nonfarm jobs in fell in April by 900 — with education and health services and government losing 1,400 jobs each.
College grads are starting to enter the workforce and high school students will soon be seeking out summer jobs. Koonce says they might find the competition tighter this summer. Koonce says when you have a higher unemployment rate, you may see some of those who’re unemployed take some of those summer jobs –especially the higher paying ones — instead of full-time employment. “So it may make it a little bit tougher for some of our youth this summer to find jobs,” Koonce says.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.9% percent in April, up from 9.7% in March.