Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.3 Percent

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: December 19, 2014
Contact: Kerry Koonce
Telephone: (515) 281-9646
                  (515) 681-2230

Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.3 Percent
DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in November from 4.5 percent in October.  The state’s jobless rate was 4.2 percent one year ago.  The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent in November.

“Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent in November,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development.  “Virtually all of Iowa’s economic indicators showed improvement this month, with Iowa’s labor force and total nonfarm employment reaching all-time highs.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 73,900 in November from 76,700 in October.  The current estimate is 3,200 higher than the year ago level of 70,700.             

The total number of working Iowans reached a current-year peak of 1,639,800 in November.  This figure is 5,000 higher than October and 37,600 higher than one year ago.  

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Total nonfarm employment in Iowa gained 1,800 jobs in November, lifting the total number of jobs to 1,558,700.  This month’s increase follows a slight drop in October (-200).  Private service industries fueled the growth and were led by leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.  Government contracted this month (-500) due to a drop in local government, but remains up 5,400 jobs since last November.  Annually, nonfarm employment in Iowa has steadily trended upward throughout the year and remains 15,700 higher than one year ago (+1.0 percent).

Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs this month (+2,300) with gains being attributable to increased hiring within accommodations and food services.  Professional and business services also increased this month (+1,100) due to hiring in administrative support and waste management services.  Financial activities have generally been growing throughout the year, and were up again this month (+500).  Smaller increases included education and health care (+300) and mining (+100).  Conversely, losses were heaviest in trade and transportation (-800) this month and were fueled by declines in transportation and warehousing (-400) coupled with weak seasonal hiring in retail and wholesale trade.  Construction pared jobs this month (-500) following two months of strong gains.  Smaller losses included manufacturing (-300) and other services (-300).

Since last November, education and health services has added the most jobs (+4,700), followed by construction (+3,600) and professional and business services (+3,000).  Manufacturing employment has been sluggish during the second half of this year and is now down 3,100 jobs compared to one year ago (-1.4 percent).  Other losses included leisure and hospitality (-1,200) and information services (-500).

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 December 2014 will be released on January 27, 2015.