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For Release: 9:00 a.m., March 28, 2014
Contact: Kerry Koonce: (515) 281-9646

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Iowa Unemployment Rate at 4.4 Percent in February

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.4 percent in February from 4.3 percent in January, as the state’s labor force climbed to its highest level in five years. The statewide jobless rate stood at 4.9 percent one year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate for February ticked up to 6.7 percent from the previous month’s 6.6 percent.

“Iowa experienced an unusually large increase in the state’s labor force in February, said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “This solid rise in the number of job seekers is a sign of growing confidence in the statewide economy.”

The statewide estimate of unemployed persons rose to 74,400 in February from 71,600 in January, but was down 6,700 from the year ago level of 81,100.

The total number of working Iowans advanced to 1,610,100 in February from 1,606,200 in January. Total employment is 23,900 higher than one year ago, and the highest on record since June 2008.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Following a large seasonal drop in January, Iowa nonfarm employment rose 3,900 jobs in February. Employment gains were primarily concentrated in the private services (+2,700), although the goods-producing sectors and government advanced by 600 jobs each. February’s gain is the fourth in the last five months, and leaves the state just 2,700 jobs under the all-time high of 1,544,200 set in December.

Retail trade added the most jobs this month (+1,800), fueling most of the gains in the trade and transportation super sector. This month’s increase follows a larger-than-expected paring of seasonal employment in January. Construction also showed signs of recovery following two straight months of drops by adding 1,500 jobs. This sector was especially slow this winter due partially to harsh weather conditions. Other gains were small in comparison, and included professional and business services (+600), education and health services (+600) and leisure and hospitality (+200). On the other hand, manufacturing shed the most jobs in February (-900) due to decreased activity in the state’s nondurable goods factories (-1,400). Reduced production among food-producing factories was partially responsible for the drop. Other losses were slight this month and included financial activities (-300), information (-200) and other services (-200).

Nonfarm employment has steadily trended up since 2010, and is currently 20,100 jobs higher than one year ago (1.3 percent). Education and health services added the most jobs over the year (+4,900). Within this sector, health care and social assistance alone accounted for 3,600 jobs, and education services increased by 1,300 jobs. Trade and transportation is up 4,100 jobs, which has been largely driven by wholesale job gains. The only sector shedding jobs versus last February is information services (-1,000). This sector has not reflected monthly job gains since March 2012.

MEDIA ALERT: An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. The statewide data for March will be released on April 18, 2014, followed by the local data on April 22.

Employment and Unemployment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

       

Change from

  February
 2014
January
2014
February
 2013
January
 2014
February
 2013
Civilian labor force 1,684,500 1, 677,800 1,667,200 6,700 17,300
Unemployment 74,400 71,600 81,100 2,800 -6,700
Unemployment rate 4.4% 4.3% 4.9% 0.1 -0.5
Employment 1,610,000 1,606,200 1,586,100 3,800 23,900
               
U.S. unemployment rate 6.7% 6.6% 7.7% 0.1 -1.0
           

Nonfarm Employment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

           
Total nonfarm employment 1,541,500 1,537,600 1,521,400 3,900 20,100
Mining 2,300 2,300 2,200 0 100
Construction 67,000 65,500 66,800 1,500 200
Manufacturing 215,600 216,500 213,600 -900 2,000
Trade, transportation and utilities 313,700 311,700 309,600 2,000 4,100
Information 25,400 25,600 26,400 -200 -1,000
Financial activities 103,500 103,800 103,100 -300 400
Professional and business services 134,600 134,000 130,900 600 3,700
Education and health services 225,800 225,200 220,900 600 4,900
Leisure and hospitality 138,100 137,900 136,200 200 1,900
Other services 58,300 58,500 57,900 -200 400
Government 257,200 256,600 253,800 600 3,400

Unemployment Insurance Claims For Iowa
       

% Change from

  February
 2014
January
 2014
February
 2013
January
 2014
February
 2013
Initial claims 10,442 20,016 11,991 -47.8% -12.9%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 42,346 52,269 46,485 -19.0% -8.9%
     Weeks paid 148,980 188,164 161,981 -20.8% -8.0%
     Amount paid $50,797,872 $63,295,032 $53,673,638 -19.7% -5.4%

Visit www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/laborforce/locallaborforce.html for county unemployment rates,
www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/laborforce/index.html for current and historical labor force data and
www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/empstat/msanonag.htm for detailed information on nonfarm employment.

Visit www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/empstat/nonfarm.pdf for information on hours and earnings and
www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/uistats/index.html to obtain a breakout of jobless benefits by county.

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