Iowa’s unemployment rate remained at 5.0% in February – unchanged from the first month of the year. Iowa Workforce Development released the February unemployment report today and spokesperson Kerry Koonce says it shows 5,900 more Iowans were actively employed compared to January.
Total employment increased to 1,554,800 in February, up from 1,548,900 in January. Iowa’s manufacturing sector led the way by adding 900 jobs in February. “That’s really driving the job growth across the state,” Koonce said. “Manufacturing is continuing to see growth month after month right now.”
In fact, February marked the fifth consecutive month of job gains for manufacturing. The construction industry added 700 jobs last month as did leisure and hospitality. Alternatively, trade and transportation cut 2,400 jobs in February. Koonce says those losses aren’t surprising at this time of year.
“Retail starts to slow back down this time of year from Christmas, so that’s what we’re seeing there,” Koonce said. The number of unemployed Iowans rose slightly to 82,600 in February from 81,600 in January, but was down from 89,300 a year ago.
The unemployment rate in February 2012 was 5.4%. The U.S. unemployment rate last month dropped to its lowest level in over five years – 7.7%.