Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Remains at 2.4 Percent in May

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.4 percent in May. The state’s jobless rate was 2.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 percent in May.

“I have run out of superlatives to describe our consistently low unemployment rate, but we continue to surpass all expectations. We have increased the number of Iowans in the workforce by 3,200 in May alone and by over 31,000 since last May,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Employers continue to face the challenge of finding a skilled workforce and Iowa Workforce Development can help with that process. As Future Ready Iowa is fully implemented, our skilled workforce should grow consistently through training and education opportunities in high-demand fields across the state.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 40,700 in May from 40,300 in April. The current estimate is 2,700 lower than the year ago level of 43,400.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,673,400 in May. This figure was 3,200 higher than April and 31,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In May, Iowa businesses added 1,100 jobs to their payrolls. This is the second consecutive monthly gain for the state following a weak first quarter that saw declines in several sectors. Advancements this month were relatively small and were led by private service industries (+1,100), although goods-producing sectors advanced slightly as well (+500). Government decreased (-500) with small losses in local government. Overall, the government continues to trail last year’s mark and is down 1,200 jobs versus last May while the state remains up 6,300 jobs.

Monthly job gains in May were relatively light and led by financial activities (+700). This sector had previously pared jobs in the last two months and has shown little overall trend over the past twelve months resulting in just 200 jobs added since last May. Education services added 600 jobs. This was the first increase since a slight gain of 100 jobs in February. Construction also advanced by 600 jobs in May and follows a larger-than-expected seasonal gain in April. Much of the construction increase stemmed from heavy and civil engineering construction projects beginning this spring. All other gains this month were fairly small and included professional and business services (+500) and other services (+400). Losses this month were led by trade, transportation, and utilities (-700) and were rooted within the retail sector (-1,000). Food and beverage stores contracted this month and have shown signs of steadily paring down staffing levels over the past four months. Other decreases this month included information       (-300), manufacturing (-200), and leisure and hospitality (-100).

Annually, total nonfarm employment continues to add jobs at a slow pace and has been driven by gains in manufacturing (+6,500). Growth has been slightly higher in durable goods shops (+3,600) versus nondurable goods (+2,900). Professional and business services is up (+2,100) thanks partially to professional, scientific, and technical services growth (+1,200). Health care and social assistance has steadily trended up over the past twelve months and stands 2,000 jobs higher than last May. Losses have been largest in retail trade (-3,600) which has been a strain on the trade, transportation, and utility sector (-2,400).

 

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Change from
May April May April May
2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
Civilian labor force 1,714,100 1,710,500 1,685,300 3,600 28,800
Unemployment 40,700 40,300 43,400 400 -2,700
Unemployment rate 2.4% 2.4% 2.6% 0.0 -0.2
Employment 1,673,400 1,670,200 1,641,900 3,200 31,500
U.S. unemployment rate 3.6% 3.6% 3.8% 0.0 -0.2
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,590,100 1,589,000 1,583,800 1,100 6,300
Mining 2,600 2,500 2,500 100 100
Construction 77,900 77,300 77,600 600 300
Manufacturing 228,200 228,400 221,700 -200 6,500
Trade, transportation and utilities 310,600 311,300 313,000 -700 -2,400
Information 20,900 21,200 22,100 -300 -1,200
Financial activities 109,400 108,700 109,200 700 200
Professional and business services 142,800 142,300 140,700 500 2,100
Education and health services 236,600 236,000 235,100 600 1,500
Leisure and hospitality 143,300 143,400 143,900 -100 -600
Other services 58,500 58,100 57,500 400 1,000
Government 259,300 259,800 260,500 -500 -1,200
 (above data subject to revision)

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
% Change from
May April May April May
2019 2019 2018 2019 2018
Initial claims 10,304 8,668 9,063 18.9% 13.7%
Continued claims
     Number of claimants 20,268 27,834 19,632 -27.2% 3.2%
     Weeks paid 67,527 78,767 65,707 -14.3% 2.8%
     Amount paid $26,196,736 $31,196,451 $24,821,796 -16.0% 5.5%