Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Courtney Greene, says some of the layoffs that have been announced are showing up.
“Iowa’s economy was sluggish in March and led to another slight increase in the unemployment rate. Some parts of the state’s economy continued to expand — construction is a bright spot — but overall there have been some definite signs of weakness, particularly in manufacturing,” Greene says. Says manufacturing saw many of the lost jobs.
“Posting 3,000 job losses, durable goods factories were also down quite a bit — losing about 2,400 jobs — partially due to cutbacks in transportation equipment manufacturers,” Greene says. “Education and health care shed 800 jobs in March, with the majority of losses coming in health care, but they fared well compared to one year ago.” Good weather helped keep the construction industry moving ahead.
“Construction posted the largest single gain this month — adding 3,600 jobs. And those projects started early in the spring and the outlook looks good through 2016,” Greene says. “Construction has been responsible for almost half the jobs added and is expected to remain strong throughout the summer.”
There were other areas that also saw progress. “Trade and transportation, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality all added jobs this month, ” according to Greene.
The increase in the unemployment rate in February was the first increase since 2009. And while it increased again in March, Greene says things are still way ahead of last year.
“The number of working Iowans went down slightly to 1,649,400 in March — which is about 1,600 lower than February. However we’re still 12,100 higher than we were a year ago,” Greene says. “And the number of unemployed Iowans also increased to 65,300 in March, up from 63,200 in February. And the current estimate is 2,400 higher than the year-ago level of 62,900.”
Iowa is still well below the national unemployment rate, which increased to five percent in March.