Iowa’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.5% in August, up from 5.3% in July. Kerry Koonce is a spokesperson for Iowa Workforce Development, which released the latest jobless numbers today.
“We’ve seen some seasonal job losses that are affecting (the unemployment rate). We’re also seeing some affects that have come from our drought, the overall global economic slowdown and the national uncertainty about what’s going to happen with the elections,” Koonce said. The number of unemployed Iowans edged up to 90,000 in August from 87,900 in July.
Koonce notes there were nearly 100,000 Iowans who were unemployed at this time last year. The unemployment rate in August 2011 was 6.0%. The leisure and hospitality sector trimmed 2,100 jobs in Iowa last month. Most of those jobs were in the area of recreational services.
“The biggest one that really hit was some downturns in construction…as well as a little bit of a downturn in manufacturing,” Koonce said. Construction cut 1,700 jobs, while manufacturing trimmed 900 jobs in August. Despite three consecutive months of posting job losses, manufacturing has added 8,400 jobs over the last year in the state.
Koonce doesn’t expect Iowa’s unemployment rate to change much in the coming months. “Through the end of 2012, we’ll kind of stay consistent where we are,” Koonce said. “We still have the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the nation. So, compared to other states, Iowa is still doing very well.”
The U.S. unemployment rate for August fell to 8.1% from 8.3% in July.
The Romney campaign released this statement on the Iowa job numbers:
“Today, we received more bad news from the Obama economy – more and more Iowans are finding themselves unemployed. Iowa has seen unemployment continue to rise, despite President Obama’s promises to stop the bleeding of jobs. President Obama has changed his tune from ‘yes we can’ to ‘no we can’t,’ claiming it’s impossible for him to change Washington from the inside. Governor Branstad has worked hard to keep Iowa going strong, but President Obama has surrendered. With Governor Romney as President, Iowa will have a partner in Washington working with Governor Branstad, not working against him like Barack Obama. Mitt Romney will succeed where President Obama has failed by implementing a 5 point plan that will strengthen the middle class and create 12 million jobs across our country in his first term alone.” – Shawn McCoy, Romney Spokesperson