Iowa unemployment rises from 2.5% to 2.6%

(The Center Square) – While U.S. employment rose two-tenths of a percentage point from July to 3.7% in August, Iowa’s unemployment rate increased from 2.5% to 2.6% over the same two months.

The Hawkeye State came within 5,500 jobs of its March 2020 employment level, an Iowa Workforce Development Sept. 15 news release said.

Iowa’s increase to 2.6% from 2.5% unemployment in July was accompanied by 1,300 Iowans leaving the workforce. A desire to attend school was the largest single reason for leaving the labor force, a survey of households said.

A survey of employers said Iowa businesses added 3,800 jobs in August, following major gains in retail trade and leisure and hospitality. Iowa’s gained 15,800 jobs since March, and each month has experienced job increases. Total nonfarm employment in August was 1.58 million.

Iowa has 55,000 more employed residents and 27,200 fewer unemployment residents compared with last year.

“We are pleased that August’s survey showed the continued positive trend of employers adding nearly 4,000 workers to Iowa’s workforce,” Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said in the release. “Iowa companies are still hiring, and the demand for workers still exists. We’re committed to bridging that gap through IWD’s new Business Engagement Team–dedicated to helping Iowa employers access the workforce-building tools necessary to aid in their recruitment and hiring efforts.”

With gains of 4,300, private service industries were responsible for most of August’s growth. Goods producing industries added 600 jobs. Government lost 1,100 jobs, but it’s gained 5,700 since last year. Retail trade added 1,700 jobs in August, leading all sectors and creating gains for the first time in five months. Leisure and hospitality industries added 1,500 jobs. Arts, entertainment, and recreation industries gained 900 jobs, typically related to performing arts and spectator sports.

Accommodations and food services added 600 jobs, fueled by hiring in eating and drinking establishments. Manufacturing increased 700 jobs. That sector has added 7,000 jobs over the past seven months. Animal slaughtering and processing bolstered job gains this month.

Job losses in August included 400 jobs in private education and 200 in transportation and warehousing.

Total nonfarm employment since last year is up 38,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality has added 12,000 jobs in the past year, while manufacturing is up 8,100 jobs. Nondurable goods factories have added 5,500 jobs. Trade, transportation, and utilities is up 6,800. Retail trade added 3,900 jobs.

IWD announced Monday that it’s launching a Business Engagement Division to assess and resolve Iowa employers’ workforce challenges more efficiently. IWD is reaching out over the next few months to employers to schedule in-person visits to evaluate ongoing workforce needs, such as surviving slowdowns and retaining workforce, and provide for those needs.

Employers can sign up for visits as well. They can find out more information about workforce services by contacting Business Engagement at [email protected], calling 1-833-469-2967 or clicking here.

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