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Iowa unemployment rate at 4.6%

unemploymentDES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.6 percent in September from 4.5 percent in August. The state’s jobless rate was 4.5 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September compared to 6.1 percent in August.

“Iowa’s nonfarm employment reached an all-time high again in September,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Global uncertainty has started to affect new orders and employment in Iowa’s manufacturing sector. Fortunately, employment in construction, health care, and finance have been thriving and at or near record levels.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 77,900 in September from 76,500 in August. The current estimate is 3,000 higher than the year ago level of 74,900.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,629,700 in September from 1,626,400 in August. This figure was 3,300 higher than August and 33,000 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa nonfarm employment added 1,300 jobs in September and now rests at 1,556,200 jobs. Gains in goods producing sectors were more than offset by larger-than-expected losses in private services. Government expanded at the state government level this month to fuel most of the job growth statewide. This month’s increase is now the sixth-straight and leaves the state up 22,100 jobs (+1.4 percent).

Construction added the most jobs this month (+1,600) following an unexpected loss of 1,200 jobs last month. This sector has been overwhelmingly positive throughout the year and has added jobs in five of the last six months. Education and health services also advanced this month (+1,300) due primarily to the steadily increasing health care field. Financial activities added jobs for the third consecutive month and now rest at a new all-time high of 105,000 jobs. Conversely, leisure and hospitality shed the most jobs this month (-1,600) with a high concentration of losses reflected in accommodations and food services (-1,300). Trade and transportation pared jobs this month (-1,000) due to losses in Iowa’s wavering retail sector. Professional and business services shed 700 jobs this month, losses being split between administrative and support services (-500) and professional, scientific, and technical services (-300). Although the decline was small this month (-100), manufacturing has now lost jobs in four straight months and has gained employment only once in 2014.

Nonfarm employment in Iowa has steadily trended upward and is led by growth in education and health services (+4,600). Construction has fared well throughout the year and is up 3,700 jobs. This sector has had the highest growth rate by percentage compared to one year ago (+5.4 percent). Other annual gains included professional and business services (+2,100) and leisure and hospitality (+1,600). Only two sectors have shed jobs annually: information services (-600) and manufacturing (-400).

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