Iowa unemployment rate drops to 3% in January

Growth in labor force, jobs credited with lowering rate

Iowa’s unemployment rate was 3.0% in January, down from the 3.1% initially announced in December, Iowa Workforce Development officials announced Monday, March 13. The U.S. unemployment rate also dropped in January, falling to 3.4% for the month.

Iowa’s December unemployment rate was also revised to 3%, IWD officials said in a release.

The total number of unemployed Iowans fell to 51,100 in January, down 1,200 from revised December data. The total number of working Iowans dropped by 500 to 1,669,900, although it remains 10,800 above January 2022.

Boosted by an increase of 8,300 jobs to start the year, Iowa recorded a labor force participation rate of 68.1% in January, down slightly from a revised December rate of 68.2% but up from the previously announced labor force participation rate of 67.6%. The rate remains near the highest level Iowa has seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The significant increases in both the number of Iowans with jobs and the number of people rejoining the labor force are very positive signs,” Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend said. “Iowa has worked hard over the last year to make it easier to connect Iowans with open jobs, including adding one-on-one assistance through our Reemployment Case Management program from the first week of unemployment. Decreasing the amount of time between jobs helps working Iowans and our employers who are looking for hardworking new employees. This is the engine that helps fuel our economy.”

The last five years of monthly labor force data, from 2018-2022, were recently revised as part of a required review by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This “benchmarking” is the annual process of re-estimating statistics as more complete data becomes available, such as updated data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Prior-year estimates for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) programs – key statistical measures of employment – are benchmarked annually, and revised data are incorporated in January employment statistics when they are released each March.