Iowa's February Unemployment Rate Remains at 6.1 Percent
Friday, March 25 2011 @ 01:04 PM CDT
Contact: Kerry Koonce: (515) 281-9646
DES MOINES, IOWA – The Iowa job market continued to show improved hiring in February, while the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 6.1 percent. Iowa’s jobless rate was also 6.1 percent for February 2010. Meanwhile, the U.S. jobless rate for February edged down to 8.9 percent, the first time the rate fell below 9.0 percent since April 2009.
“The weak recovery that began in the summer of 2009 appears to be stabilizing,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Nonfarm employment has increased steadily since September, a departure from the slow hiring pattern experienced last summer.”
The pool of unemployed Iowans increased slightly to 102,200 in February from 101,900 in January. The year ago level of 101,500 was 700 less than the current month’s estimate.
The total number of working Iowans advanced to 1,578,900 in February, the highest figure recorded since April 2009. Total employment stood at 1,576,500 in January, and 1,565,600 in February 2010.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Total nonfarm employment rose to 1,477,100 in February, 3,700 higher than the January estimate, and 12,000 more than one year ago. The February increase marked the second consecutive gain for 2011, and the fourth gain out of the last five months.
Leisure and hospitality led all sectors with a gain of 2,500 jobs in February. Hiring in recreational activities accounted for a large portion of the monthly increases. Manufacturing added 1,200 jobs with gains posted for both durable and nondurable goods factories. Elsewhere, other services contributed 700 jobs with the monthly gains most evident in the repair of commercial and industrial machinery and equipment. Professional and business services edged up by 400, partially due to an increase in accounting and tax preparation services.
Education and health care lost the most jobs of any sector in February, down 700. The contraction was entirely due to a drop in health care and social assistance. Despite the monthly decline, the health industries are 1,500 higher than last year’s level. Three sectors; construction, information, and trade and transportation; pared 200 jobs each. Government declined by 300, as gains in local government were offset by losses in federal and state government.
Professional and businesses services added the most jobs since last February, up 5,900. Trade and transportation followed with an increase of 4,000; slightly more than half of the gain occurred in transportation. Leisure and hospitality and manufacturing also reflected gains, adding 2,800 and 2,400 respectively. Information lost 1,200 jobs over the year, as firms continued to deal with the decreasing demand for printed materials and the transition into the digital age. Construction was down 1,100 over the year due to the ongoing weakness in residential and commercial construction.
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 March 2011 will be released on April 19, 2011.