Iowa’s Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent in January

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.7 percent in January from the revised December rate of 3.9 percent. The state’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate in January increased to 4.0 percent.

The total number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 62,700 in January, down 2,200 from revised December data. Iowa businesses added 3,000 jobs in January, and the total number of working Iowans increased by 6,900 to 1,617,700. The labor force participation rate increased slightly to 66.8 percent.

“These numbers show Iowa’s economic recovery is continuing to press forward,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “IWD’s role is to continue that momentum by getting unemployed Iowans back into the workforce as quickly as possible. Since January, more than 640 Iowans involved in our Reemployment Case Management program have found new jobs. We will work as hard as possible to keep that number growing.”

The last five years of monthly labor force data (2017-2021) recently were revised as required by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. This “benchmarking” is the periodic process of re-estimating statistics as more complete data becomes available, such as updated data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Prior-year estimates for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) programs – key statistical measures of employment – are benchmarked annually. Revised data are incorporated in January employment statistics when they are released each March.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa businesses added 3,000 jobs in January, lifting total nonfarm employment to 1,556,300. Much of the increase stemmed from those industries involved in goods production, although service industries had some gains, particularly those related to accommodations and eating and drinking establishments. Private industries advanced by 1,600 jobs, and government added 1,400 (with 800 jobs being in local government). Compared to last year, government is now up 7,900 jobs, mostly due to growth at the local level.

Leisure and hospitality added the most jobs in January (+2,500). Aside from a mild loss of 800 jobs in December, this industry has generally trended up steadily since COVID quarantine efforts. Most gains were within accommodations and food services, which are up 6,500 jobs since August. Manufacturing added 1,700 jobs, with the bulk of gains in nondurable goods production (+1,100) and many related to food production and animal slaughtering and processing. Construction gained 600 jobs and now has added 2,800 jobs over the past three months. Sector losses were led by professional and business services (-2,200), mostly stemming from the administrative management and waste remediation services industry. This sector has been sluggish for several months and trails last year’s mark by 2,700 jobs. Other services lost 1,000 jobs, mostly as a result of cutbacks in personal care industries. Smaller losses included trade, transportation, and utilities (-700) and information (-200).

Annually, total nonfarm employment is up 31,100 jobs (+2.0 percent). Leisure and hospitality continue to restaff and lead all sectors with 16,500 jobs, most of which (+14,000) are within accommodations and food services. Manufacturing has added 4,200 jobs. Gains have been in both durable and nondurable goods workshops. Construction has shown some recent signs of hiring and is now up 2,800 jobs. Annual job losses have been led by health care and social assistance (-3,200). This sector has been slower to rehire to pre-pandemic levels and has shed 800 jobs in the last two months. Finance and insurance have been slowly reducing staff levels and are down 900 jobs compared to last January.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Change from
January December  January December January
2022 2021 2021 2021 2021
Civilian labor force 1,680,400 1,675,600 1,663,600 4,800 16,800
Unemployment 62,700 64,900 73,100 -2,200 -10,400
Unemployment rate 3.7% 3.9% 4.4% -0.2 -0.7
Employment 1,617,700 1,610,800 1,590,500 6,900 27,200
Labor Force Participation Rate 66.8% 66.7% 66.5% 0.1 0.3
U.S. unemployment rate 4.0% 3.9% 6.4% 0.1 -2.4
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,556,300 1,553,300 1,525,200 3,000 31,100
Mining 2,500 2,400 2,300 100 200
Construction 80,100 79,500 77,300 600 2,800
Manufacturing 221,500 219,800 217,300 1,700 4,200
Trade, transportation and utilities 311,700 312,400 308,300 -700 3,400
Information 19,000 19,200 18,600 -200 400
Financial activities 108,600 108,200 109,500 400 -900
Professional and business services 138,200 140,400 139,400 -2,200 -1,200
Education and health services 224,100 223,700 227,500 400 -3,400
Leisure and hospitality 137,500 135,000 121,000 2,500 16,500
Other services 55,400 56,400 54,200 -1,000 1,200
Government 257,700 256,300 249,800 1,400 7,900
 (above data subject to revision)


Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
% Change from
January December January December January
2022 2021 2021 2021 2021
Initial claims 13,052 17,762 25,093 -26.5% -48.0%
Continued claims
     Benefit recipients 28,469 17,573 46,120 62.0% -38.3%
     Weeks paid 91,868 61,696 156,961 48.9% -41.5%
     Amount paid $42,014,680 $26,730,595 $61,685,216 57.2% -31.9%

Visit for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.


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