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For Release: 9:00 a.m., April 21, 2015
Contact: Ed Wallace: (515) 281-5082

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Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.0 Percent

DES MOINES, IOWA - Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent in March from 4.1 percent in February. The state's jobless rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent in March.

   "Nonfarm employment increased for the sixth-consecutive month in March, adding 3,300 jobs," said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "While the state's nonfarm employment expanded to an all-time high, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent, making it the lowest rate since May 2008."

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 67,800 in March from 70,300 in February. The current estimate is 6,200 lower than the year ago level of 74,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in March. This figure is 600 higher than February and 25,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

   Iowa's nonfarm employment posted another gain this month, adding 3,300 jobs. Following last month's revision upward, total nonfarm employment has now increased in six consecutive months. Job growth was fueled primarily by service sectors, with private services gaining a combined 3,100 jobs. Public sectors added 500 jobs at the local level and remain up 3,600 jobs compared to one year ago. The state itself has added 26,900 jobs since last March (+1.7 percent).

   The education and health services sector added the most jobs this month (+2,300) due to expansion in both private education and health care. Trade and transportation also posted a strong showing this month (+2,100) following a slight drop in February. This month's gain was primarily bolstered by hiring in retail (+1,800) in preparation for increased summer traffic. Other monthly increases were small and included professional and business services, mining, and construction. Losses were slight this month and included a drop in leisure and hospitality (-1,100). A majority of this decline was in accommodations and food services (-900). Manufacturing pared jobs for the first time since October, with small losses occurring in both durable and nondurable goods factories. Financial activities pared 400 following an unexpectedly large increase in February.

   Since last March, nonfarm employment has steadily advanced with growth occurring in most segments of the Iowa economy. Trade and transportation now leads all super sectors with 6,700 jobs added, followed by construction (+6,200) then professional and business services (+4,300). The only sector to trail last year's level is the information sector (-1,000) as media becomes less labor-intensive and more technology-based. Iowa's indicator sectors, manufacturing and financial services, are up 600 jobs combined.

MEDIA ALERT: An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide and local data for April 2015 will be released on May 27, 2015.

 

Employment and Unemployment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

       

Change from

  March
 2015
February
2015
March
 2014
February
 2015
March
 2014
Civilian labor force 1,715,000 1,716,800 1,695,600 -1,800 19,400
Unemployment 67,800 70,300 74,000 -2,500 -6,200
Unemployment rate 4.0% 4.1% 4.4% -0.1 -0.4
Employment 1,647,100 1,646,500 1,621,600 600 25,500
               
U.S. unemployment rate 5.5% 5.5% 6.6% 0.0 -1.1
           

Nonfarm Employment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

           
Total nonfarm employment 1,568,100 1,564,800 1,541,200 3,300 26,900
Mining 2,300 2,200 2,200 100 100
Construction 77,400 77,300 71,200 100 6,200
Manufacturing 217,400 217,900 217,200 -500 200
Trade, transportation and utilities 318,600 316,500 311,900 2,100 6,700
Information 24,800 25,000 25,800 -200 -1,000
Financial activities 104,500 104,900 104,100 -400 400
Professional and business services 138,700 138,200 134,400 500 4,300
Education and health services 225,800 223,500 222,600 2,300 3,200
Leisure and hospitality 140,300 141,400 137,900 -1,100 2,400
Other services 59,800 59,900 59,000 -100 800
Government 258,500 258,000 254,900 500 3,600

Unemployment Insurance Claims For Iowa

% Change from

  March
 2015
February
 2015
March
 2014
February
 2015
March
 2014
Initial claims 9,713 10,513 11,936 -7.6% -18.6%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 40,012 40,795 41,230 -1.9% -3.0%
     Weeks paid 128,564 140,183 138,131 -8.3% -6.9%
     Amount paid $45,530,551 $49,513,589 $47,389,525 -8.0% -2.5%
           

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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