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Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.7 Percent

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent in November, the first time the rate has been lower than 6.0 percent since September 2009. The state’s jobless rate was 6.0 percent in October, and 6.2 percent in November 2010. The U.S. rate for November also reflected a sharp drop, falling to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent in October.

“The Iowa economy appears to be on firmer ground than it was during third quarter,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The large drop in the November unemployment rate, along with an increase in total employment and further expansion in manufacturing, seems to confirm that the recovery has stepped up a notch.”

The statewide estimate of unemployed persons fell to 95,000 in November from 98,700 in October, marking the second consecutive month that unemployment has dropped below 100,000. Unemployment was reported at 103,100 one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans reversed course in November, and edged up slightly to 1,562,000 from 1,558,300 in October.


Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Total nonfarm employment declined slightly to 1,485,000 in November from the previous month’s 1,486,100, but was 10,400 higher than the November 2010 level. In terms of job growth, 2011 has been overwhelmingly positive. Job gains have been posted for seven of the first eleven months of the year.

Manufacturing continued to be a strong factor in the recovery this month, adding 1,100 jobs. Both durable and nondurable goods factories contributed gains this month, up 700 and 400 respectively. Financial activities was up 600, and trade and transportation also advanced by 600 due to increases in retail trade and transportation. On the other hand, leisure and hospitality shed 1,900 jobs in November with losses heaviest in recreation and leisure activities. Professional and business services was down 1,300 with almost half of the losses concentrated in scientific, technical, and professional services.

Year-over-year increases put manufacturing in the forefront, up 7,900 jobs from last November. Education and health services accounted for the second-largest annual gain of 5,100, which was due almost entirely to hiring in health care and social services. Trade and transportation added 4,500; job growth occurred in retail trade and transportation. Government lost the most jobs of any sector, down 3,700. Budget cuts in state and local government accounted for most of the losses.

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