The state unemployment rate moved up two-tenths of a percent in February to 3.7 percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Courtney Greene, says it has been a long time since the rate went up.
“This is the first increase since 2009, and it’s not surprising given the number of recent layoff announcements over recent months. The silver lining for workers experiencing layoffs is, they are finding employment,” Greene says.
The unemployment rate is the same as it was one year ago in February. Greene says almost all segments of the Iowa economy scaled in the month, with the private sector losing 5,000 jobs.
“Government was down 1,200 jobs due to a decline in local government. Private sector losses were largest in leisure and hospitality this month — down 3,100 — and accommodations and food services experienced most of the decline. Although the loss was large, it is the first since July for this super sector,” Green says. “In addition, professional and business services trended down for the fourth consecutive month, fueled by losses in administrative and support services.”
The Workforce Development report says education and health services added 2,200 jobs this month and has been steadily climbing due to the demand for health care services. The only other major sector to add jobs this month was financial activities — up 500 jobs in February. Greene says there are more Iowans working compared to last year, despite the February increase in the unemployment rate.
“You know, the number of Iowans working increased to 1,651,100 in February, up 1,900 from January, and we are still up 13,700 jobs from a year ago,” Greene says.
The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in February.