Iowa unemployment rate holds steady at 5.1 percent
DES MOINES — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent in May, as the number of unemployed Iowans ticked up marginally.
Iowa had a reported 85,200 workers seeking jobs in May compared to 85,000 in April. The state’s jobless rate compared favorably with the same month one year ago, when 99,100 Iowans were unemployed or 6.0 percent of workers. Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly in May to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April. County-level unemployment breakdowns were not yet available this morning.
“The Iowa economy remains on track for modest growth in the coming months,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Continued improvement, particularly in housing, will strengthen job growth in a broad range of industries.”
The total number of working Iowans declined slightly to 1,577,700 in May from 1,578,200 in April. However, the May total is 14,700 higher than the year ago figure of 1,563,000.
Analysts said Iowa’s total non-farm employment shed 3,300 jobs in May, lowering the monthly estimate to 1,492,400. This month’s decline was spread across several sectors and state officials said it could be a symptom of the economic turmoil in Europe coupled with decreased spending from consumers. The job losses in May are the second for the current year, but workforce development points out that the magnitudes of the declines in 2012 have been smaller than the gains.
The report shows professional and business services decreased by 1,900 jobs in May, the most of any sector. The loss was heaviest in administrative and support services (-1,700), although professional, technical, and scientific services also lost jobs during the month. Trade and transportation pared 1,800 jobs with losses occurring in retail, wholesale and transportation. Smaller losses occurred in construction (-900), manufacturing (-400) and finance (-200). Leisure and hospitality led all sectors in monthly job gains, up 1,200. The gain was evenly distributed between accommodations and food services and arts and entertainment. Elsewhere, job gains in health care (+700) fueled an increase of 300 in education and health services. Both information and government added 200 jobs.
Compared to May of last year, Iowa has added 13,400 jobs. Manufacturing led all sectors in job growth, up 10,900 jobs. Construction followed with an annual gain of 6,100 jobs. Smaller gains were posted for education and health services (+2,000), other services (+1,700), leisure and hospitality (+1,000) and finance (+500).
Conversely, trade and transportation lost the most jobs of any sector (-4,200). Other over-the-year losses were posted for government (-2,700), professional and business services (-1,900) and information (-200).
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