Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.3 Percent
Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 10:00 AM CST
For Release: 10 a.m., January 25, 2011
Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.3 PercentDES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in December from 6.6 percent in November, reflecting the largest monthly decrease in the rate for the year. The state’s jobless rate stood at 6.5 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate also took a sharp drop in December, falling to 9.4 percent from a November rate of 9.8 percent.
Iowa’s monthly “household survey,” which is used to derive the state’s unemployment rate, depicted a much stronger employment picture in December than the payroll survey. While monthly nonfarm employment dropped by 6,500, total employment increased by 5,800. This is not unusual since the household survey starts to pick up improvement earlier than the payroll survey in the initial stages of an economic recovery. An important feature of the household survey is that it captures all forms of employment; including agriculture, small businesses and the self-employed.
The monthly estimate of unemployed persons dropped to 106,300 in December, the lowest level for the year. The December figure compared with 110,500 for November, and 109,800 for December 2009.
Total employment climbed to a seven-month high of 1,569,500 in December, suggesting that the overall trajectory of the statewide economy has improved in recent months. The total number of working Iowans was reported at 1,564,000 in November and at 1,567,600 one year ago.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Iowa’s total nonfarm employment decreased to 1,474,200 in December, down 6,500 from November. The December decline in payrolls should not be viewed as a departure from the growth experienced over the past two months, but rather a shift in seasonal reporting among Iowa’s industries. Total nonfarm employment remains markedly up compared to one year ago.
Construction shed 2,600 jobs in December, the most of any industry. This drop, however, was not unexpected since the November level was unseasonably high due to construction projects extending late into the season. Compared to last year, construction is 400 higher. Professional and business services also suffered a larger than expected drop of 2,300. Elsewhere, trade and transportation shed 2,100 jobs, with losses primarily in wholesale trade and transportation. On the other hand, leisure and hospitality added 1,500 jobs in December, with gains in recreation activities and restaurants bolstering employment.
Compared to last year, nonfarm employment has added 15,400 jobs. Furthermore, the trend of Iowa’s total nonfarm employment has been overwhelmingly positive during most of 2010. Professional and business services led all sectors with a gain of 7,000 above last year’s level. Manufacturing followed with an increase of 5,700 over the year, and leisure and hospitality advanced by 4,300. Conversely, trade and transportation fell below last year’s level by 4,000 jobs, followed by financial services, down 1,500 jobs.
MEDIA ALERT: An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide and local data for January 2011 will be released on March 10, 2011.