The state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, to 5.1 percent. Kerry Koonce with the Iowa Workforce Development agency says there were 1700 fewer unemployment Iowans in October compared to September.
“We had a drop of a tenth of a percent in our unemployment rate,” Koonce says.
There was an increase in employment in the private sector in October, according to Koonce, an additional 6000 jobs.
“The largest increase since February,” Koonce says, “including 1500 jobs in manufacturing, which is always good when we add jobs there.”
There were job gains in education and health services as well.
“And when they say education, they don’t mean your public schools. It’s your private colleges and institutions like that and there were 1800 jobs added there, split pretty evenly between education and health services,” Koonce says. “…Then 2600 jobs (were added) in leisure and hospitality, which over 1400 of those were in the accommodations and food service industry.”
The national unemployment rate in October was 7.9 percent. Iowa’s unemployment rate a year ago was six-tenths of a percent higher than it was this October. There are pockets of the state where unemployment remains far higher than the statewide average.
“Southeast Iowa, unfortunately, is always higher,” Koonce says. “Lee County is at 7.9 percent. That’s the highest one in the state.”
Koonce says there was a bit of a leveling off, though, throughout the state, as only four other counties recorded an October unemployment rate at or above six-point-one percent.
“Those are Hamilton kind of in north central Iowa, Monona on the western side of the state and then Wapello and Appanoose,” Koonce says.
Ottumwa in is Wapello County. Centerville is the largest city in Appanoose County. Almost 84,000 Iowans were unemployed in October. According to statistics from the Iowa Workforce Development agency, over 1.55 million Iowans had a job in October.