Iowa’s unemployment rate of 2.7% for September is slightly higher than the previous month, a tenth of a percent increase.

“Certainly the uptick in unemployment is an indication that Iowa is not entirely immune to some of the financial and economic conditions that are being faced around the country with the increase in inflation, supply chain issues,” Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend says.

Several sectors of the Iowa economy recorded job losses last month, while Iowa manufacturers added 600 jobs.

“They’re up over 8800 jobs over the course of a year, so that was good,” Townsend says. “In September we saw the health care and social assistance industries shed a thousand jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities also shed a thousand jobs and finance and insurance also shed 600.”

Those 600 job losses were primarily in the insurance industry.

The number of Iowans above the age of 15 who are working or looking for a job was about the same in August and September. Federal data shows that so-called labor participation rate in Iowa peaked in 1996 at 73.5% and got close to that level at the end of 2008. Over 1.66 million Iowans were working last month, a labor participation rate of 67.7%.

“I do think it’s a good sign for our labor force that the labor force rate remained the same,” Townsend says. “…We do have over 83,000 jobs available in Iowa today.”

It’s still a buyers market in Iowa if you’re looking for work, according to Townsend. “Starting wages are up, employers are looking for new ways to attract a workforce, including changes to shifts, changes to work,” Townsend says, “whatever they can do to retain a good workforce.”

The new state law that reduced how long unemployed Iowans are eligible for benefits took effect July 1 and its potential effect in the state’s unemployment rate could be reflected in October’s data.

Radio Iowa