Iowa’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1% in December

Iowa WorkForce Development

Iowa’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1% in December, down from 3.9% a year ago, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5% in December.

Iowa employers reported adding 2,400 jobs in December, ending the year with 34,200 more positions on payrolls than December 2021. 

Multiple sectors saw growth in 2022, including 7,600 jobs created in manufacturing. Across the year, Iowa reported job growth in all but two months. Compared to December 2021, Iowa had 11,700 fewer unemployed, 34,100 more people in the labor force, and 45,600 more residents with jobs last month.

“Iowa ended 2022 in a much stronger position than where we were a year ago,” Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in a news release. “Individual industries certainly continue to feel shocks from high inflation and the ripples of a difficult business cycle. But overall, Iowa is now much stronger heading into 2023.”

Seasonally adjusted employment also saw improvements. Iowa establishments in December added 2,400 jobs to their payrolls, lifting total nonfarm employment to 1.5 million jobs. Service sectors were responsible for all of the growth in December as goods producing sectors shed 800 jobs due to construction industries shutting down for winter. 

Private industries advanced by 3,000 with hiring most evident in education and health services along with professional and business services. On the other hand, the government trended down to end the year and lost 600 jobs at the state level.

Health care and social assistance added the most jobs in December. The increase helped offset a loss in November and equates to 4,900 jobs gained in 2022. Jobs added in December were spread throughout all segments of health care. 

Professional and business services also showed improvement in December. Most of these hires were related to professional, scientific, and technical services, which gained 500 jobs. Other sectors showing improvement in December included retail trade, up 900 jobs over November and 2,900 jobs for the year. 

Alternatively, job losses were limited to a few sectors in December, led by construction. The sector has shown little trend this year and ends with this same total as December 2021. Leisure and hospitality posted the only other major loss in December.

Compared to December 2021, Iowa businesses have added 34,200 jobs. Many of these job gains have occurred in leisure and hospitality which leads all sectors. This sector now rests near pre-pandemic levels, but the pace of these job gains may start to wane this year. 

Manufacturing’s 7,600 jobs ranked second in terms of annual growth, with nondurable goods factories adding slightly more jobs than the durable goods counterparts. Annual job losses are less evident and include transportation and warehousing and administrative and support services.