The state’s unemployment rate dropped in November to a level not seen in more than a decade.
“Iowa non-farm jobs increased by 8,400 in November and the unemployment rate continues to drop,” according to Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Courtney Greene. “One year ago the state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent and for November it’s 3.4 percent, down a tenth of a percent from October.”
Greene says a warm November is part of the reason for the drop in the jobless rate. “Due to unseasonably warm weather and no snow, construction added 3,700 jobs in November.Leisure and hospitality also saw gains of 3,300 jobs. And labor force participation rates held steady for the last three months — which means people are actually finding jobs,” Greene says.
Construction jobs in the state have increased by 7,200 since last November, the largest annual increase in any area. That helped push the unemployment rate to a level not seen in some time. Greene says the unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since 2001. Not every area gained jobs.
“Professional business services is one of a very few sectors that saw a decline in jobs, down 2,100. Information services leads all sectors in jobs lost, with a loss of 600 jobs, and that’s due restructuring and transformation of the sector. And manufacturing is down slightly due to cutbacks in the durable goods factories,” according to Greene.
Iowa’s unemployment rate puts the state in the top ten nationwide. “Iowa ranks sixth nationally — the number one state for unemployment is North Dakota at 2.7 percent. Nebraska is second at 2.9, South Dakota is third at 3 percent, Hawaii and New Hampshire tied at 3.2,” Greene says. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at five percent in November.
The number of unemployed Iowans fell to 58,700 in November from 60,400 in October. The current estimate is 15,000 lower than the year ago level of 73,700.