Iowa unemployment increases slightly to 2.6% in August

Iowa’s unemployment rate increased from 2.5% to 2.6% in August with 1,300 Iowans leaving the workforce.

According to a survey of households, the most common reason for leaving the workforce was a desire to attend school.

Businesses added 3,800 jobs in August — mainly in retail trade and leisure and hospitality — marking the fifth consecutive monthly increase in jobs.

“We are pleased that August’s survey showed the continued positive trend of employers adding nearly 4,000 workers to Iowa’s workforce,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, in a statement. “Iowa companies are still hiring, and the demand for workers still exists.”

Private service industries were responsible for most of the growth in August (gaining 4,300), although goods producing industries added 600 jobs. Government lost 1,100 jobs this month yet remains up 5,700 above last year’s level. Total nonfarm employment remains just 5,500 jobs below the pre-pandemic level.

Retail added 1,700 jobs, leading all individual sectors. The entertainment and recreation industries gained 900 jobs, most of which were related to performing arts and spectator sports. Jobs in accommodations and food services were fueled by hiring in eating and drinking establishments (+600). Manufacturing added 700 jobs in August, according to a press release.

The U.S. federal unemployment level rose to 3.7%.

In July, the Iowa unemployment rate fell from 2.6% to 2.5%.