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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate at 3.5 Percent in January

Unemployment Rate Drops

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent from the revised December rate of 3.7 percent. The state’s jobless rate was 2.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in January.

“Since last April, 2020, Iowa has grown its workforce by 45,400. In January, Iowa added 8,200 workers, which is a positive sign as we look to get more Iowans back into the workforce,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “As the weather continues to improve and our seasonal layoffs come to an end, we are hopeful our unemployment rate will continue to decline and our labor participation rate will improve.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 57,400 in January from 59,900 in December. The current estimate is 132,800 lower than the COVID-19 revised peak in April of 190,200 and 8,100 higher than the year ago level of 49,300. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,567,800 in January. This figure was 8,200 higher than December’s number of 1,559,600 and 45,400 higher than April 2020.

Monthly labor force data have been revised for 1976-2020 as required by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Benchmarking is the process of re-estimating statistics as more complete data becomes available.  Prior year’s estimates for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) programs are benchmarked annually.  In March, the revised data is incorporated with the January employment statistics.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa establishments gained 3,000 jobs in January, leaving total nonfarm employment at 1,516,400 jobs. Private industries advanced slightly (+800). Much of the hiring was within goods-producing industries which gained 1,700 jobs since December. Government added 2,200 jobs due to a strong showing at the local level (+1,200).

Construction added the most jobs in January (+1,000). This is the second-consecutive monthly increase for the sector and the third in the last four months. This sector showed little growth last year; however, this industry showed signs of expansion in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing gained 700 jobs in January with much of the hiring being within nondurable goods factories. Manufacturing has trended up since May, adding 7,000 total jobs during that span. The majority of these gains have been in nondurable goods shops. Hiring in private education led to a gain of 700 jobs in education and health services. Smaller increases this month included leisure and hospitality (+400) and financial activities (+300). On the other hand, losses were greatest in the retail trade (-1,300). This sector showed an unusually large gain last month to accommodate the holiday shopping season. Information shed 500 jobs with losses in two of the last three months. Both other services and professional and business services shed 300 jobs since December.

Compared to April, Iowa establishments have now added back 103,900 jobs. Leisure and hospitality has added the most jobs (+39,800), although bulk hiring may not occur until the spring and summer months and after social-distancing measures have ended. Retail has added back 22,600 jobs with hiring being strongest in general merchandise and food and beverage stores. Health care and social assistance is up 9,700 jobs despite a small drop in January.

Unemployment Insurance Claims

The total number of initial claims decreased in January 2021 by 13,825 (35.5 percent) from December 2020 and have fallen 132,231 (-84.1 percent) versus the peak of 157,324 in April 2020. For continued claims, most statistics have been reduced to approximately 75 percent of the April 2020 levels. The number of claimants increased by 4.8 percent from last month and are down 136,539 over the prior nine months. The weeks paid increased to 156,961 in January, less than 25 percent of the 652,623 paid in April 2020, while the total amount paid to claimants increased to $61.7 million, less than 30 percent of the $213.5 million paid nine months ago.

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for January 2021 is available on the IWD website.  Statewide data for February 2021 will be released on Friday, March 26, 2021.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Change from
January April January April January
2021 2020 2020 2020 2020
Civilian labor force 1,625,100 1,712,600 1,734,200 -87,500 -109,100
Unemployment 57,400 190,200 49,300 -132,800 8,100
Unemployment rate 3.5% 11.1% 2.8% -7.6 0.7
Employment 1,567,800 1,522,400 1,684,900 45,400 -117,100
U.S. unemployment rate 6.3% 14.8% 3.5% -8.5 2.8
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,516,400 1,412,500 1,593,800 103,900 -77,400
Mining 2,400 2,200 2,400 200 0
Construction 78,900 74,600 80,600 4,300 -1,700
Manufacturing 218,900 212,900 224,300 6,000 -5,400
Trade, transportation and utilities 307,000 281,600 311,200 25,400 -4,200
Information 18,000 18,700 20,700 -700 -2,700
Financial activities 109,900 108,300 110,100 1,600 -200
Professional and business services 136,100 129,600 140,300 6,500 -4,200
Education and health services 221,300 207,600 236,600 13,700 -15,300
Leisure and hospitality 118,100 78,300 144,900 39,800 -26,800
Other services 54,900 48,500 58,700 6,400 -3,800
Government 250,900 250,200 264,000 700 -13,100
 (above data subject to revision)

 

Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
% Change from
January April January April January
2021 2020 2020 2020 2020
Initial claims 25,093 157,324 17,461 -84.1% 43.7%
Continued claims
     Number of claimants 46,120 182,659 45,207 -74.8% 2.0%
     Weeks paid 156,961 652,623 154,466 -75.9% 1.6%
     Amount paid $61,685,216 $213,451,863 $63,087,185 -71.1% -2.2%

 

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