The state unemployment rate held at three-point-two percent in July.
Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Cory Kelly says business continued to expand during the month.
“We saw growth, especially in Iowa’s manufacturing industry posting job gains for a third consecutive month in July. This is also the third month in a row Iowa’s total non-farm employment has increased — picking up a total of since April,” Kelly says.
The unemployment rate stayed the same despite the number of unemployed Iowans increasing to 54,400 in July. The number of unemployed is 9,300 less than one year ago. Kelly says the manufacturing sector has helped the jobs picture — growing each of the last three months.
“Adding 5,000jobs during that span,” Kelly says. “The majority of those gains have been in durable goods factories, although non-durable goods factories have also experienced strong job growth since April.” The animal processing and food production facilities led in the increase in non-durable goods job growth. The health care industry lost some jobs in July, but remains on a positive trend for the year.
“Across the year health care has been a driving force in job growth in Iowa. It added 6,900 jobs in the past 12 months, even after this month’s slight decline in that sector,” he says. The construction industry had been pushing jobs up — but it saw a slowdown with a loss of 2,300 jobs in July.
Kelly says construction is down 4,400 jobs so far this year as the industry falls off its record pace last year with some large scale projects ending. The July unemployment rate one year ago was a half-a-percent higher at 3.7 percent.
The unemployment rate has held at just above three percent for most of this year. It started out at 3.4 percent in January, dropped to 3.2 in February. It dropped again in March to 3.1 percent, and held there until moving back up to 3.2 two percent in June.
The federal unemployment rate in July dropped slightly to 4.3 percent.