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Iowa’s unemployment rate drops to 3.5 percent in October

unemploymentDES MOINES – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.5 percent in October from 3.6 percent in September. The state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 5.0 percent in October.

“Iowa’s economy continues to improve,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Total nonfarm employment added jobs for the second consecutive month, and the number of unemployed Iowans continued to trend down. The state’s unemployment rate for October now rests at 3.5 percent and is evidence of the strength of Iowa’s economy.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 60,300 in October from 61,400 in September. The current estimate is 13,500 lower than the year ago level of 73,800.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,644,500 in October.This figure was 4,000 higher than September and 5,000 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

For the second straight month, total nonfarm employment added jobs and now sits at 1,577,300 jobs. The gain was primarily fueled by private services and isolated to only two super sectors, while goods producing industries pared a combined 1,600 jobs. Government advanced this month due to larger-than-expected seasonal hiring in local government education and is little changed versus one year ago (-100).

Professional and business services surged ahead in October thanks primarily to hiring in administrative and waste management. This is the third consecutive month of growth for this sector which has added 4,500 jobs since July. The only other gain this month occurred in other services. This sector has gained jobs in three of the last four months. Alternatively, losses this month were small, but evident in most sectors this month; the exceptions were leisure and hospitality (-1,900) and manufacturing (-1,000). Leisure and hospitality was hampered this month by a decrease in accommodations and food services staffing and was larger than seasonally expected. Manufacturing pared jobs evenly in both durable and nondurable goods factories and shed employment for the third straight month. Smaller drops included education and health services (-700), construction (-500), and trade and transportation (-400).

Annually, nonfarm employment remains up 22,300 jobs (+1.4 percent). Following this month’s surge, professional and business services has now added the most jobs since last October (+6,500) followed by education and health services (+5,800) then construction (+3,700) and other services (+3,700). Iowa’s financial sector has remained strong over the past twelve months and is up 2,500 jobs annually. Annual losses are limited to manufacturing (-1,300), information services (-900) and mining (-100).

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