The state unemployment rate moved up slightly in July to 3.8 percent after dropping to 3.7 percent in June. Iowa Workforce Development deputy director, Ed Wallace, says the change was actually only half a percent that was rounded up in the final figure. “We continue to add jobs in virtually all sectors, but had a slight uptick over the past month,” Wallace says.
The move up in the unemployment numbers ends a trend that saw the number holding steady of decreasing. “This is the first slight uptick in almost six months. We continue to add jobs in a lot of different sectors. It’s our strong hope that we’ll continue to increase the number of working Iowans across the state,” Wallace says. The department’s report shows nonfarm employment gained 8,100 jobs in July. Wallace says even with the increase in jobs, movement among temporary workers was part of the reason for the slight change in the unemployment rate.
“Some of the firms that hire temporary workers in various industries had some of those workers transition into different positions or transition to different places. So we saw a slight job in the number of temporary workers and somewhat of a weaker showing in professional and business services,” according to Wallace. He says the transition into the school year for college students and teachers also impacted the job numbers.”Some of the students who had been in the service industry are headed back to school. However, we have seen an uptick in educators hired over the last month — primarily due to school districts hiring across the great state.”
There have been some announcements of job losses recently, most notably the closing of the Tyson plant in Denison, which leaves 400 people out of work. Wallace says those jobs may not show up in the unemployment numbers as other jobs are available to those workers. “Its our hope with the Tyson plant closing and other closings that we are able to transition many of those workers in to other positions — because there are many employers who are hiring in the regions that have layoffs,” Wallace says.
Wallace says the state still remains close to the full unemployment level, which is 3.5 percent. He says Iowa is in better shape than one year ago in July when the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, and the Iowa rate remains below the national rate of 5.3 percent.