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For Release: 9:00 a.m., March 27, 2015
Contact: Kerry Koonce: (515) 281-9646

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Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.1 Percent

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in February from 4.2 percent in January. The state’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February.

“Iowa’s unemployment rate continued to trend down in February,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “While nonfarm employment decreased slightly this month, so too did the number of unemployed workers. Virtually all employment and labor force indicators continue to show improvement compared to last year.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 70,100 in February from 71,800 in January. The current estimate is 4,000 lower than the year ago level of 74,100.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,646,100 in February. This figure is 1,100 higher than January and 27,100 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa’s nonfarm employment shed 400 jobs in February, lowering nonfarm employment down to 1,561,700 jobs. This month’s decline is small and the first since September. State and local governments fueled a loss of 1,700 in total government, but this sector remains up 3,400 jobs annually due to hiring in public education. Private services experienced a small drop (-300), while goods producing sectors advanced this month (+1,600).

Manufacturing added the most jobs this month (+1,200) due primarily to hiring in nondurable goods factories (+1,000). Education and health care increased this month and were fueled entirely by gains in private education (+1,000). Private education shed employment in each of the past three months, so an increase was expected this month. Financial activities advanced this month (+800) following smaller losses in each of the last two months. Overall, Iowa’s financial industries have steadily trended up over the past several months and now rest 1,000 jobs higher than last February. Losses this month were led by trade and transportation (-1,500) and chiefly due to the last of the seasonal retail hires being shed. Other losses were minor and included professional and business services (-600) and information services (-400).

Since last February, Iowa nonfarm employment has added 21,800 jobs (+1.4 percent). Virtually all sectors have added jobs over the last twelve months with the largest gains being in construction (+6,700), trade and transportation (+3,200), and professional and business services (+2,900). The only super sector to pare employment was information services (-1,000).

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 March 2015 will be released on April 21, 2015.

 

Employment and Unemployment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

       

Change from

  February
 2015
January
2015
February
 2014
January
 2015
February
 2015
Civilian labor force 1,716,200 1,716,900 1,693,200 -700 23,000
Unemployment 70,100 71,800 74,100 -1,700 -4,000
Unemployment rate 4.1% 4.2% 4.4% -0.1 -0.3
Employment 1,646,100 1,645,000 1,619,000 1,100 27,100
               
U.S. unemployment rate 5.5% 5.7% 6.7% -0.2 -1.2
           

Nonfarm Employment In Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data

           
Total nonfarm employment 1,561,700 1,562,100 1,539,900 -400 21,800
Mining 2,200 2,200 2,200 0 0
Construction 77,400 77,000 70,700 400 6,700
Manufacturing 217,900 216,700 217,200 1,200 700
Trade, transportation and utilities 315,200 316,700 312,000 -1,500 3,200
Information 24,900 25,300 25,900 -400 -1,000
Financial activities 105,000 104,200 104,000 800 1,000
Professional and business services 137,900 138,500 135,000 -600 2,900
Education and health services 223,400 222,400 221,700 1,000 1,700
Leisure and hospitality 140,600 140,500 137,900 100 2,700
Other services 59,300 59,000 58,800 300 500
Government 257,900 259,600 254,500 -1,700 3,400

Unemployment Insurance Claims For Iowa

% Change from

  February
 2015
January
 2015
February
 2014
January
 2015
February
 2014
Initial claims 10,513 20,167 10,442 -47.9% 0.7%
Continued claims          
     Number of claimants 40,795 52,994 42,346 -23.0% -3.7%
     Weeks paid 140,183 181,785 148,980 -22.9% -5.9%
     Amount paid $49,513,589 $63,155,474 $50,797,872 -21.6% -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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