Iowa’s unemployment rate falls to 3.0% in April

Iowa WorkForce Development

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.0% in April – down from 3.3% in March and from 4.5% one year ago. The U.S. April unemployment rate remained at 3.6%.

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 50,900 in April from 55,600 in March. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,646,800 in April – a figure that is 10,000 higher than March and 45,100 higher than one year ago.

The labor force participation rate also increased to 67.4% in April from 67.2% in March. Initial unemployment claims fell to 5,290 last month, the lowest monthly number seen since 1973.

“Thousands of Iowans returned to the workforce in April and found promising new careers in manufacturing, construction, and other industries,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Our economy continues to grow, our labor force continues to expand, and unemployed Iowans are finding amazing new career opportunities faster than ever thanks to our pivot to focus on reemployment. The April numbers confirm once again that we’re on the right track.”

In April, Iowa businesses added 3,300 jobs, more than offsetting a loss of 2,800 in March and leaving total nonfarm employment at 1,565,700 jobs. Job growth was spurred by hiring in manufacturing and construction, although service industries did contribute to the gain (+1,300). Government advanced slightly in April (+200) and now stands at 4,600 jobs above last year. Most of the increase was local and related to summer projects.

According to the Iowa Workforce Development, manufacturing added the most jobs in April (+1,100), marking the fifth consecutive gain for this sector and the sixth increase in the last seven months. A total of 6,000 jobs have been added since September with the lone decrease being due to a November strike in machinery manufacturing. Durable goods shops were responsible for most of the jobs added this month (+900). Construction advanced by 900 jobs – the sixth straight month of gains, now totaling 3,800 jobs since October. Finance and insurance rose by 700 in April following losses in the last two months.

All the monthly growth stemmed from insurance and related activities; credit intermediation and related activities were unchanged from March. Education services added 600 jobs in April, and professional and business services added 500 jobs thanks to a boost from professional, scientific, and technical services. Alternatively, job losses were heaviest in trade, with wholesale and retail shedding 1,200 jobs compared to last month, according to the Iowa Workforce Development.

Despite little change from March, leisure and hospitality leads all sectors in jobs gained over the past 12 months (+12,400) with most of the increase stemming from accommodations and food services (+10,300). Manufacturing continues to be vital to the state’s economy and has added 7,300 jobs since last April. Retail trade remains markedly up from last year despite a moderate loss in April and has gained 4,400 jobs annually. The only sectors trending down compared to last year are health care and social assistance (-2,700) and finance and insurance (-1,000).