Iowa’s unemployment rate for April remained at 3.1 percent. “It’s absolutely status quo,” according to Cory Kelly, a spokesman for Iowa Workforce Development.

Kelly says there are very few hints as to what long-term trends may be in Iowa’s economy, but the state is CLOSE to “full employment.”

“We’re very close,” Kelly says.” Globally, economists generally agree that 3.0 is considered full employment…We’re not quite there.”

The agency reports about 52,000 Iowans remain unemployed and the number of Iowans in the workforce declined last month. The construction industry was in a hiring boom a year ago and the data shows the construction sector shed about 1,500 jobs last month.

“This sector may be recovering from a weak start to the summer building surge,” Kelly says. However, Kelly’s agency reports “anemic” job growth in companies that make products and Iowa businesses, in general, seem to be “a little more apprehensive” about hiring.

“Durable good factories continue to struggle with weak demand,” Kelly says. About 700 workers were laid off in Iowa’s manufacturing sector last month. Iowa governments, particularly at the local level, are cutting jobs, too, with 500 people who work in public sector losing their jobs. The state saw job gains in health care, education, financial services and in the leisure and hospitality industry.