Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.1 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: January 27, 2015
Contact: Kerry Koonce
Telephone: (515) 281-9646
                    (515) 681-2230
Email: kerry.koonce@iwd.iowa.gov

Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.1 Percent

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in December from 4.3 percent in November.  The state’s jobless rate was 4.2 percent one year ago.  The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in December.   

“The State’s economy ended on a high note in December,” said Beth Townsend, interim director of Iowa Workforce Development.  “Recent stagnation within global markets has shown little impact on the U.S. and Iowa economies.  The Iowa unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent, while nonfarm employment gained 2,100 jobs.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 71,100 in December from 73,600 in November.  The current estimate is 100 higher than the year ago level of 71,000.            

The total number of working Iowans reached a current-year peak of 1,642,900 in December.  This figure is 3,100 higher than November and 38,100 higher than one year ago.  

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa’s nonfarm employment added jobs for the second straight month (+2,100) and now rests at 1,560,600 jobs.  This month’s gain was heavily influenced by increases in goods producing sectors.  Private services added 900 jobs, but were offset by a shedding of 900 jobs in government.  Government sectors were hampered by parings at local and state government, but many of these losses were seasonal and should be recovered in January.  Nonfarm employment steadily trended up throughout 2014, shedding jobs only three times:  January, March, and October, and now rests up 16,400 jobs versus one year ago (+1.1 percent).

Manufacturing rebounded this month and added 1,600 jobs.  Durable goods factories added 1,000 jobs, while nondurable goods added 600 jobs.  This increase follows two months of losses and a downward trend during the year following several months of expansion in the wake of the recession.  Professional and business services also fared well in December, adding 1,500 jobs.  Much of this gain was fueled by administrative support services (+900), although professional, scientific, and technical services also advanced this month (+600).  Other sectors adding jobs this month included other services (+600), construction (+500), and leisure and hospitality (+300).  Losses this month were led by trade and transportation (-1,000) and fueled by unexpected declines in Iowa’s retail sector.  All other private sector losses were small and included financial activities (-300), information (-100), and education and health services (-100).

Annually, the education and health services sector added the most jobs compared to last December (+5,600).  Health care alone is up 3,700 jobs, while education gained 1,900 jobs.  Construction was booming throughout the year and now rests up 4,700 (+6.9 percent).  Professional and business services continues to increase and is now up 4,100 jobs.  This gain could be evidence of shifting employment patterns with firms now relying on contract and temporary employment rather than permanent staff.  Conversely, manufacturing is now down 2,600 jobs over the year, while trade and transportation trails last year’s level by 1,900 jobs.

MEDIA ALERT:  An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057.  Statewide and local data for January 2015 will be released on March 17, 2015.