Iowa jobless rate drops in July

State marks seventh straight month of declining unemployment

Iowa unemployment rate

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 2.5% in July, down from 2.6% in June and 4.4% one year ago.

The state’s jobless rate has now declined for seven straight months, according to Iowa Workforce Development reports. The state reported 2.7% unemployment in May.

Overall, the number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 43,300 in July, from 43,900 in June. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,667,200 in July – 1,800 higher than June and 58,600 higher than one year ago.

Overall, the state’s labor force participation rate remained at 67.8% in July, despite 1,400 Iowans rejoining the labor force. Iowa added a total of 3,800 jobs.

“July’s good news shows that, despite current national economic challenges, Iowa’s economy continues its positive direction,” Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend said in a release. “We are helping workers find new career pathways, and we remain laser focused on reemployment so we can help every Iowan find the right job and every employer find a qualified workforce.”

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% in July.

Iowa total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 3,800 jobs in July, marking the fourth consecutive increase, largely due to service industries bolstering payrolls, particularly within professional and business services and health care. While private services again took a step forward this month (+3,100), government agencies also added jobs, primarily at the local level and related to temporary summer programs (+700). Following the gain, government employment now stands 6,100 above last year’s mark, while the state is up 33,900 jobs compared to a year ago.

Health care and social assistance added the most jobs of any sector in July, gaining 1,300 jobs from June to lead the state’s unemployment rate drop. This sector has been slow to recover since the pandemic began, but growth has been evident in 2022, with 2,300 jobs gained this year.

Administrative support, waste management, and remediation industries added 1,000 jobs in July. Much of this increase was fueled by hiring of seasonal staff to help with services to buildings and dwellings, specifically landscaping.

Manufacturing added jobs this month (+800), with gains in both durable and nondurable goods factories. This sector continues to trend upward and has added 6,700 jobs in 2022 thus far.

Conversely, job losses were most evident in retail trade in July (-800), particularly for miscellaneous store retailers. This decline now marks the fifth straight monthly loss, with 3,900 jobs pared during that span. All other losses were sparse in July, with small drops in construction (-300), financial activities (-200), and leisure and hospitality (-200).

Over the past 12 months, Iowa firms have added 33,900 jobs. Despite little movement this month, leisure and hospitality has gained the most jobs (+10,100). Accommodations and food services alone are up 8,800 jobs.

Manufacturing is now up 7,700, with hiring being slightly greater in nondurable goods factories (+4,600). Food manufacturing, particularly slaughtering and meat packing, has been especially robust. Trade, transportation, and utilities are up 5,000, with hiring being particularly strong in transportation and warehousing.