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Iowa unemployment rate drops to 6.0 percent

DES MOINES – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.0 percent in September from 6.1 percent in August. The current rate is also lower than one year ago when the state’s unemployment rate was reported at 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, Iowa’s jobless rate is more than three percentage points lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, which remained at 9.1 percent in September.

“Iowa has consistently been on better economic footing than most states with an unemployment rate holding in the low six percent, said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. However, we recognize that 100,000 Iowans are still unemployed and the department continually works to connect unemployed workers with current opportunities throughout the state. Most notably, we have ramped up efforts with direct outreach to Iowans when area employers are looking to hire a significant quantity of individuals into jobs with high wages and excellent benefits.”

The statewide estimate of unemployed workers dropped to 100,400 in September from 101,500 in August, and was 3,000 lower than the year ago level of 103,400.

The total number of working Iowans fell to a new current-year low of 1,560,900 in September from 1,563,200 in August. Total employment stood at 1,567,700 in September 2010. Employment conditions have weakened in all regions of the country since mid-year due to uncertainty regarding government policy and global economic trends.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Total nonfarm employment dropped 5,700 jobs in September, lowering employment to 1,482,200. A sizable portion of the monthly loss (2,100) was in the government sectors due to downsizing that is occurring nationwide, not just in Iowa. Compared to last year, six of the nine private super sectors remain positive.

Trade and transportation represented the largest gain in September, up 1,400 jobs. Retail trade added 1,200 jobs, fueling most of the hiring in the sector. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest drop in September, down 2,300 jobs. This was the result of summer recreational activities ending early this season. Despite this month’s drop, leisure and hospitality advanced by 6,400 jobs since September 2010. Government reflected the second-largest monthly drop at 2,100; most of the decrease was concentrated in local government. Manufacturing decreased by 1,000 jobs due to a drop in nondurable goods factories. Other drops occurred in professional and business services (-800), other services (-700), information (-400), and construction (-300).

Total nonfarm employment remains up 18,000 jobs compared to September 2010, an increase of 1.2 percent. Trade and transportation and leisure and hospitality led the year-over-year job gains, adding 6,500 and 6,400, respectively. Manufacturing was also a main driver, up 4,800 jobs from one year ago. Health services fueled all of the gains in education and health services, which grew by 4,300 jobs. Construction, a sector that experienced deep jobs cuts due to the housing downturn, posted an annual gain of 2,400. Financial services reported the largest loss (-2,200), followed by other services (-2,000) and government (-2,000).

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