The state unemployment rate was 2.9% in January. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Cory Kelly says that matches the December rate which had been adjusted upward after its original release.
“December was first reported at 2.8%, but was moved up to 2.9 part of the annual “benchmark process.”
January’s rate held steady after job increases in the “durable goods” manufacturing category. “We added the most jobs this month in that sector, up 1,100, much of that monthly gain was due to hiring in metal fabricating shops,” Kelly says. “Both durable and non-durable goods factories have steadily trended up since last summer and have been largely responsible for Iowa’s non-farm employment growth.”
December’s adjusted rate is the first time the unemployment rate has done up since August.
Kelly says it is worthy to note that Iowa “is the only state in the union in which manufacturing is still the number one industry. So, we’ve done a very good job of hanging onto our manufacturing core. So, they are doing very well.”
Kelly says retail lost the most jobs in January, and the industry lost more than expected.
“We’re down about 1,400. This sector has not fared well recently as consumers slowly shift away from our brick and mortar establishments, and instead are turning to online retail shopping,” according to Kelly.
There were some other areas that lost jobs. He says transportation, utilities and warehousing lost around 600 jobs — be he says the loses came after some large gains for those sectors in November and December.
Kelly says the last 12 months have been good on the job front. “Over the year we are only showing substantial loses are in construction, down 4,600 and then retail trade, 3,400,” Kelly says. “Up over the year, it goes back to manufacturing. Iowa expanded on it’s yearly growth in January and has been fueled by gains in durable and non-durable manufacturing. Combined these two industries have gained 11,000 jobs since last year.”
The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 48,300 in January compared to 49,300 in December. The unemployment rate was 3.4% one year ago — and the U.S. rate was 4.1% in January.