Iowa’s unemployment rate declines to 3.5% in February

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in February, the second consecutive 0.2% decrease in as many months. The U.S. unemployment decreased to 3.8% in February.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,626,800 in February – a figure that was 9,100 higher than January and 33,400 higher than one year ago.

“February’s jobs report is a strong sign that our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “More Iowans are returning to the workforce and finding new jobs, many with higher wages than they earned pre-pandemic.”

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that would decrease the number of weeks Iowans can collect unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 16 weeks. The bill also lowers the threshold of pay for jobs unemployed workers must accept, reports Iowa Center Square.

According to the newest month’s job numbers, the labor force participation rate increased from 66.8% to 67%.

Businesses in the accommodations and food service industry experienced job gains for the sixth consecutive month. Following a large decrease in January, administrative support and waste management firms added 1,500 jobs. Losses in February were highest in private education (1,300).