Iowa’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in July, up slightly from 5.1% in June. Kerry Koonce is a spokesperson for Iowa Workforce Development, which released the latest employment figures today.
She says the Iowa numbers mirror what’s happening nationally as the U.S. unemployment rate for July climbed to 8.3% from 8.2% in June. Iowa’s jobless rate stood at 6% one year ago. Koonce expects unemployment numbers to remain fairly steady in the coming months.
“We’re seeing a lot of businesses, both in Iowa and nationally, that are concerned about the federal government in the sense of what’s going to happen…is there going to be drastic spending cuts or are their taxes going to increase after the first of the year when some of the current legislation is set to expire? We may see some of this hesitancy until we get through the elections,” Koonce said.
While the total number of working Iowans declined between June and July, the state still has 12,500 more jobs than this time last year.
Iowa’s workforce in July totaled 1,563,400, while 88,200 were listed as unemployed. That’s down from 99,100 one year ago. Most of Iowa’s job gains in July were in government, with an increase of 5,200 positions.
“We see that this time of year as teachers are coming back to work after being off for the summer,” Koonce said. Health services added 900 jobs in July, while trade and transportation posted a gain of 400 positions. Most of the losses last month were in construction, which eliminated 1,200 jobs.
“It’s possible we’re seeing some (construction) projects being completed for the year,” Koonce said. Professional and business services shed 800 jobs in July and manufacturing cut 600 jobs. Over the year, however, Iowa’s manufacturers have added more jobs than all other sectors combined, up 10,400.