Iowa’s unemployment rate in June held steady at 6% for the third consecutive month. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Kerry Koonce says while the state continues to bounce back from the recession, there’s been little change in the state’s jobless rate over the past year.
“The unemployment rate is what you call a lagging indicator, so it’s going to take longer for it to fall even when you’re going through a recovery,” Koonce said. “So, holding at 6 percent is probably expected right now and we’ll probably be holding there until the third or fourth quarter of 2011.”
The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.2% in June, up from 9.1% in May. Iowa shed 4,500 nonfarm jobs in June compared to May. The biggest losses came in government employment, down 5,000 jobs over May.
“A lot of the government losses were at the local level – city and county – and it appears positions that are traditionally cut in July were cut earlier and cut in June,” Koonce said. Government has shed 7,200 jobs over the year. Manufacturing, for the first time in several months, cut jobs – with 900 positions eliminated between May and June.
“Fortunately, during the first few months of 2011, we’ve been adding and we’re above where we were a year ago in manufacturing,” Koonce said. Construction cut 600 jobs in June. The biggest gains in June were in trade, transportation and utilities (3,900 jobs) and professional and business services (1,900 jobs).
Koonce says most of the professional and business services jobs were temporary hires. “Which is an important sign for recovery in the economy. That means businesses are looking at what the need, they’re maybe not quite ready to bring back permanent, full-time employees, but maybe their production or sales are ramping up and they need temporary workers for a little bit. So, that’s a positive sign,” Koonce said.
Despite the losses in June, Koonce says Iowa has 12,400 more nonfarm jobs than a year ago. The number of unemployed Iowans in June stood at 100,900 – up from 100,500 in May. However, the number of unemployed has dropped by 1,500 since June 2010. The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,576,100 last month, its lowest point for the year.