Iowa Unemployment Rate at 5.2 Percent
DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5.2 percent in March from 4.9 percent in February. The statewide jobless rate was reported at 3.9 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 8.5 percent in March from 8.1 percent in February, and from 5.1 percent one year ago.
“The sharp drop in March payrolls underscores the current weakness in Iowa’s job market,” said Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “In March, job losses were broad-based, and suggested that a significant turnaround in the state’s employment situation is not likely to occur in the near future.”
The total number of working Iowans showed only slight change at 1,587,400 in March compared to 1,587,000 in February. The current level of employed persons is 22,200 lower than the year ago figure of 1,609,600.
The statewide estimate of unemployed persons rose to 87,800 in March from 81,900 in February. One year ago, the number of unemployed state residents was reported at 66,100.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Statewide nonfarm employment contracted by 10,700 in March, bringing the new total nonfarm employment down to 1,493,400. Most of the state’s industries experienced job cuts during the month, with the exception of finance and government.
Construction shed the largest number of jobs in March at 2,900. The weak demand in housing and construction has taken a heavy toll on the industry. Professional and business services decreased by 2,700; as both professional and temporary help services continued to cut payrolls. Other substantial losses were posted for leisure and hospitality (-1,700), trade and transportation (-1,400), other services (-1,100) and manufacturing (-900).
Compared to March of last year, Iowa has lost 32,400 jobs. Education and health services has remained resilient, adding 3,900, mostly in health-related services. Retail trade has advanced by 1,900 over the year, and local government has increased by 1,200. On the other hand, manufacturing has lost 20,400 jobs; 17,500 of the loss was concentrated in durable goods production. Professional and business services has dropped by 10,500, and construction has experienced a smaller drop of 3,700.
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