The state has seen very little change in the rate in the last 14 months. It held at 2.4% for 12 straight months until moving up to the current 2.5% in July. IWD deputy director Ryan West says the number of unemployed did increase by 1,000 in August — but those who had a job increased by 5,800.
“There are some fluctuations from August to July — but it always shakes out. Some of it was just a wash and we were able to stay at 2.5% ,” West says. He says more people are looking for a job now with more opportunities. “The reality is there’s just so many jobs for job seekers,” West says, “an so job seeks have the opportunity to move up try other things, because employers are so stretched looking for employees.”
He says businesses are still struggling to find workers who have the skills they need. “We don’t really ever not talk to an employer who is not always looking for skilled workers. A skilled workforce is the key and one of the things we are trying to address with our Future Ready Iowa Initiative. To get those individuals the skills — whether they’ve never gotten them — or to upskill current employees so they stick around and stay with them. So we can get folks to stay in the rural communities as well,” according to West.
West says there was one event they thought might make an impacted on employment, but that did not happen. “We were fortunate that there wasn’t a real big fluctuation with the flood,” West says. “Certainly a disaster always adds a component to this that you really don’t foresee. We had it with the tornadoes last year at this time. But even then it didn’t really seem to really adjust the rate very much. So, you just don’t know.”
West says August and September don’t usually see a lot of fluctuations as companies are trying to get a lot of work done before things turn cold — especially in construction. He says you have a lot of options as an employee. “If you’re looking for opportunities they are certainly out there. You’ve just got to work with us, or try to work with us and we will help you find the job that you are looking for,” West says.
Iowa is tied with New Hampshire for the third lowest unemployment in the country. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in August.