“Iowa’s unemployment rate is down a tenth of a percent to 3.7 in August. Total nonfarm employment was down slightly this month, but the total number of unemployed Iowans decreased to its lowest level since February of 2008,” according to Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Courtney Greene.
The number of unemployed Iowans hit 62,400 in August, down from 63,900 in July. The unemployment rate increase in July was the first move up in six months, and now the level has dropped back down.
“This month’s decline could be a natural correction in the monthly data following large gains to begin the year,” Greene says.
Several areas added jobs in August. “There was an increase in the construction and finance sectors. Construction saw an increase of 21-hundred jobs and this is the fourth consecutive month that finance has added jobs — seeing about a thousand jobs added in August,” Greene says. “Retail and leasing also saw hiring gains. The only other sector to add jobs this month was professional and business services, with an increase of 600 jobs.”
The state did lose 800 nonfarm jobs in the month. “Manufacturing saw a slight decrease of 600 jobs following three months of gains. Trade, transportation and other services lost jobs for the second month in a row fueled by disappointing retail hiring this month. Smaller drops included leisure and hospitality,” Greene says.
The total number of Iowans working is 1,200 higher than July, and 2,600 higher than one year ago, with more than 1.6 million people working. “You know, Iowa is doing pretty well in terms of the economy. Low energy prices, low gas prices means there’s more money in people’s pockets and it seems people are pretty optimistic,” Greene says.
The state jobless rate continues to be well below the U.S. level of 5.1 percent for August.