Iowa’s unemployment dropped down to 2.6% in July. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman, Cory Kelly, says that’s down from 2.7% in June.
“That puts Iowa tied with North Dakota for second lowest unemployment rate in the country — and an 18-year low — we haven’t seen this since July of 2000,” according to Kelly. “So, we’re sitting in an interesting spot here.”
Kelly says it is hard to tell if the rate has hit as low as it can go.
“Number one in the nation is Hawaii. They are sitting at two-point-one percent, so clearly environments can go lower than we are now. We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out,” Kelly says. The number of working Iowans is estimated to have increased by 5,200 in July. Manufacturing led the way in new jobs.
“Thirteen-hundred over the month, following another moderate gain of 900 jobs in June,” Kelly says of the manufacturing sector. “Also the financial activity sector added 600 jobs in June and continues to expand its footprint in the Iowa economy.” The construction industry had a small gain if 300 jobs — but is was the sixth consecutive month the industry added jobs.
The negative side of the job market is in retail “We saw retail shed the most jobs in July — down 3,000 — and was responsible for all the losses in trade and transportation,” Kelly says. Kelly says retail has been trending down in jobs since the start of the year as store closings were announced across the state.
“We expect that to continue, or it may continue as online sales continue to gain in popularity around the nation,” Kelly says. The state unemployment rate in July of last year was 3.1%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9% percent in July.