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For Release: 9:00 a.m., April 18, 2014
Contact: Kerry Koonce: (515) 281-9646

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Iowa Unemployment Rate Increases to 4.5 Percent in March

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up to 4.5 percent in March, primarily driven by another large increase in the state’s labor force. The March jobless rate compared with 4.4 percent for February, and 4.8 percent for March one year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate for March held steady at 6.7 percent.

“The Iowa economy reached a milestone in March, as the state’s total employment level climbed to a record high of 1,615,200, said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Total employment covers all working Iowans. It includes wage and salary workers on nonfarm payrolls as well as agricultural workers, the self-employed, and also workers in private households and unpaid family members.”

The statewide estimate of unemployed persons edged up to 76,000 in March from 74,200 in February. The number of unemployed stood at 79,300 one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,615,200 in March from 1,609,900 in February. The current figure is 27,100 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Nonfarm employment trended down slightly in March (-1,700), and now rests at 1,538,100 jobs. The loss is the second in the last three months, and was heavily influenced by declines in the goods-producing sectors coupled with weak hiring in professional and business services. Government showed little change this month (-100), with gains in federal government offset by losses in state government. Nonfarm employment has grown by 17,300 jobs over the year, although the pace of growth has started to slow in recent months.

Leisure and hospitality provided one of the few bright spots in March, posting an increase of 1,500, which was primarily concentrated in accommodations and food services (+1,000). Employment in this super sector has steadily trended up since 2010, and provides evidence of consumers’ increasing willingness to spend disposable income on entertainment. Other gains this month included financial activities (+500), and information(+100). Alternatively, losses this month were heaviest in Iowa’s manufacturing sector (-1,300), and included both durable (-900) and nondurable (-400) goods factories. The drop is the third straight for manufacturing, and the fourth in the last five months. Manufacturing remains up compared to last year (+800), but has shown little momentum so far this year. Professional and business services shed 1,200 jobs, marking the first decline since October for the sector. Other losses this month were smaller in magnitude, and included education and health services (-400), other services (-400), construction (-200) and trade and transportation (-200).

The education and health services sector added the most jobs compared to last March (+4,000), with health care and social assistance providing most of the gains. Leisure and hospitality advanced by 3,600 jobs, and trade and transportation gained 3,400. Information was the only sector to pare jobs compared to last March (-800).

MEDIA ALERT: An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. The statewide data for April will be released on May 16, 2014 followed by the local data on May 20.

Employment and Unemployment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

       

Change from

  March
 2014
February
2014
March
 2013
February
 2014
March
 2013
Civilian labor force 1,691,200 1, 684,100 1,667,300 7,100 23,900
Unemployment 76,000 74,200 79,300 1,800 -3,300
Unemployment rate 4.5% 4.4% 4.8% 0.1 -0.3
Employment 1,615,200 1,609,900 1,588,100 5,300 27,100
               
U.S. unemployment rate 6.7% 6.7% 7.5% 0.0 -0.8
           

Nonfarm Employment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

           
Total nonfarm employment 1,538,100 1,539,800 1,520,800 -1,700 17,300
Mining 2,300 2,300 2,300 0 0
Construction 66,800 67,000 65,700 -200 1,100
Manufacturing 214,300 215,600 213,500 -1,300 800
Trade, transportation and utilities 313,400 313,600 310,000 -200 3,400
Information 25,600 25,500 26,400 100 -800
Financial activities 103,800 103,300 103,100 500 700
Professional and business services 133,300 134,500 131,100 -1,200 2,200
Education and health services 224,900 225,300 220,900 -400 4,000
Leisure and hospitality 139,600 138,100 136,000 1,500 3,600
Other services 57,800 58,200 57,700 -400 100
Government 256,300 256,400 254,100 -100 2,200

Unemployment Insurance Claims For Iowa
       

% Change from

  March
 2014
February
 2014
March
 2013
February
 2014
March
 2013
Initial claims 11,936 10,442 11,941 14.3% 0.0%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 41,230 42,346 44,571 -2.6% -7.5%
     Weeks paid 138,131 148,980 151,313 -7.3% -8.7%
     Amount paid $47,389,525 $50,797,872 $50,093,903 -6.7% -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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