Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Courtney Greene, says it has been awhile since the unemployment rate was this low.
“The low unemployment rate of 3.5 hasn’t been seen since 2006,”Green says. The unemployment rate one year ago in October was 4.3 percent. The number of unemployed dropped to 60,300 in October.
Iowa’s unemployment rate may have bottomed out. “Many economists agree that 3.5 percent is considered full employment. There’s roughly 3.5 percent of the population in transition between jobs at any given time, or those who have significant long-term barriers to employment,”Greene says. “Low unemployment is good for job seekers — but it is challenging for many Iowa employers who are struggling to find those with the skills needed in various industries.”
Greene says non-farm employment added jobs for the second straight month. “Professional and business services surged ahead in October — thanks to hiring in administrative and waste management. This is the third consecutive month of growth for this sector, which has added 4,500 jobs since July,” according to Greene. “There was also a gain in the service sector — which has gained jobs in three of the last four months. And Iowa’s financial sector has remained strong over the past 12 months and is up 2,500 jobs annually.”
Greene says job losses were low compared to the gains. “Leisure-hospitality lost 1,900 jobs and manufacturing saw a slight decline of about a thousand jobs,” Greene says. The Workforce Development report says leisure and hospitality was hampered this month by a decrease in accommodations and food services staffing that was larger than seasonally expected. The current estimate is that the number of people without a job is 13,500 lower than one year ago.
Iowa’s unemployment rate remains well below the national rate, which dropped to five percent in October.