June unemployment drops to pre-pandemic rate of 2.6%

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6% in June – marking the six straight month unemployment has decreased and signaling a return to pre-pandemic unemployment levels.

The Labor Force Participation Rate also increased to 67.8%, up from 67.6% last month, after adding 5,100 jobs in June. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, according to the release.

“The progress in June speaks for itself,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, in a statement. “Iowa has reached an important milestone by returning to an unemployment level not seen since before the pandemic. The efforts to bring Iowans back into the workforce with promising new careers is paying off… We remain focused on removing barriers and helping to fill the 89,000 open jobs across the state.”

June’s gain of 5,100 jobs lifted total nonfarm employment to 1,572,800 and was the third consecutive increase with 10,400 jobs added since March. Total nonfarm is now up 42,100 jobs over the past year.

Leisure and hospitality added the most private sector jobs in June (+2,000), resulting from accommodations and food service industry hires heavily influenced by seasonal gains in recreational camps.

Over the past twelve months, leisure and hospitality added the most jobs (+15,100), mostly from within accommodations and food services (+14,000). Manufacturing continues to bolster payrolls and now rests 8,300 jobs higher than June 2021. Hiring within non-durable goods plants has outpaced durable goods slightly. Annual job losses are light and limited to just health care and social assistance (-700), administrative help and support services (-500), and finance and insurance (-300).

In May, Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.7%.