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Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.9 Percent

This news story was published on December 22, 2012.
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DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in November from 5.1 percent in October. The statewide unemployment rate was 5.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate also continued to trend downward in November, falling to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in October.

“Iowa’s unemployment rate reached a milestone in November,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “ November marked the first time since December 2008 that the state’s jobless rate was lower than 5.0 percent.”

The number of unemployed Iowans dropped to 80,400 in November from 83,600 in October, and 92,600 in November 2011.

The total number of working Iowans continued to rebound in November, increasing to 1,560,500 in November from 1,555,900 in October. The level of unemployed stood at 1,569,900 one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm EmploymentIowa’s nonfarm employment declined by 3,200 jobs in November, lowering the total to 1,494,300. This month’s decline is the second in the last three months, yet follows a large gain in October. Losses this month stem from seasonal declines in the service-providing sectors.

Manufacturing added 1,000 jobs this month to lead all sectors with the gains distributed between nondurable goods (+700), and durable goods (+300). This is the second consecutive month of growth for manufacturing following a disappointing summer in which losses occurred in four out of five months going back to May. Health care services fueled most of the gain in education and health services (+700). Seasonal hiring of 1,500 in retail trade resulted in a slight gain for trade and transportation (+400), and government added 400 jobs at the local level. On the other hand, seasonal losses were concentrated in two sectors, namely leisure and hospitality (-3,200) and professional and business services (-2,200).

Total nonfarm employment continues to trend upward, and currently stands 12,300 higher than one year ago. Manufacturing accounted for the largest year-over-year gain at 8,300, followed by financial activities (+2,200), construction (+1,800) and other services (+1,500). Annual losses were led by trade and transportation (-2,100), primarily caused by cutbacks in the subsectors of retail trade (-1,100) and transportation (-1,100). Leisure and hospitality declined by 1,400 since last November with most of the drop occurring in accommodations and food services.

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