Iowa Workforce Development reports the state unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in January. IWD spokesperson, Courtney Greene, says January’s rate would be unchanged compared to an adjusted December rate.
“The state’s revised December rate — originally reported at 3.4 percent — was adjusted to 3.5 percent after benchmarking,” Greene says. Greene explains the process of updating the numbers at the start of the year. She says “benchmarking” is the process of adjusting the figures as more information becomes available and then new data is included in the January unemployment numbers.
So, the December and January unemployment rate ended up being just a bit higher than the November rate, which at 3.4 percent was the lowest level since 2001. While the unemployment level remained the same, Greene says there were new jobs created in January. “Non-farm employment surged ahead 7,900 jobs in January — lifting the total up to 1,581,800 jobs,” Green says. “This month’s gain was the fourth consecutive increase, and was heavily fueled by service industries.”
Several areas saw job increases during the month. “The largest private sector gain was in trade and transportation — adding about 2,200 jobs. The retail sector fared better than expected during the holiday season — adding about 1,400 jobs. And leisure and hospitality also added jobs, with other services, financial activities, and manufacturing realizing some smaller gains,” Greene says.
The Workforce Development Report shows job losses of 600 in professional and business services, and 400 in construction. Overall since last January, the report says the state has added 23,500 jobs. The largest nonfarm increase comes in construction (+4,900), due to growth in both residential and commercial/industrial projects.
The January unemployment rate one year ago was 3.8 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 4.9 percent in January. That is the lowest national rate since February 2008.