Iowa’s unemployment rate drops to 3.3% in March

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.3% in March, which is down from 3.5% in February and from 4.4% one year ago. The U.S. March unemployment rate decreased to 3.6%.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,637,100 in March. This figure is 10,000 higher than in February and 39,400 higher than one year ago.

“Iowa’s economic recovery has made tremendous strides over the past year, and we’re starting to see real progress as more and more Iowans rejoin the workforce,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Iowa has come a long way since the height of the pandemic, but employers continue to need workforce. IWD will continue to focus on re-employment and helping jobless Iowans quickly find their way into rewarding new careers.”

According to the newest month’s job numbers, the labor force participation rate increased to 67.2% in March from 67% in February.

According to the Iowa Workforce Development, another seasonally adjusted survey sent to employers showed Iowa establishments paring 1,500 jobs in March, leaving total non-farm employment at 1,563,700 jobs. This decline marked the first drop since August 2021 and was due to cutbacks in private service industries.

Leisure and hospitality shed the most jobs in March (-2,800). Even with this month’s loss, leisure and hospitality remain up 13,200 jobs for the year, with the majority of hires in accommodations and food services (+11,100).

Health care and social assistance decreased by 800 jobs, offsetting the gains in January and February.

Job gains were highest in retail trade (+900). This now marks the sixth consecutive increase for the retail industry.

Manufacturing is up 6,100 jobs compared to last March with durable goods factories slightly outpacing nondurable goods shops. Thanks to recent gains, retail trade is now up 4,800 jobs from last year’s level with most hiring within general merchandise stores. Losses have been concentrated within health care and social assistance (-2,800) and finance and insurance (-1,500).