Iowa's March Unemployment Rate is 6.1 Percent
Wednesday, April 20 2011 @ 08:33 AM CDT
Kerry Koonce: (515) 281-9646
DES MOINES, IOWA – The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.1 percent in March from a revised February rate of 6.0 percent. The comparable rate for one year ago was also 6.1 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate for March edged down to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent in February, which represented a full percentage drop in the rate since November 2010.
“The hiring pattern that occurred in March provided further assurance that the Iowa economy is moving the right direction,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “State payrolls grew by 11,400 jobs during the first three months of 2011.”
The statewide estimate of unemployed persons edged up to 102,700 in March from 101,700 in February, and 101,900 in March 2010. Contrary to the U.S. trend, Iowa’s labor force participation rate has remained strong, which means that it will take a prolonged period of strong job growth to reduce unemployment in the state.
Employment prospects for Iowans continued to improve in March, as the total number of working Iowans increased to 1,581,200 from the February level of 1,578,900. Total employment stood at 1,567,500 last March.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Total nonfarm employment reached 1,480,500 in March, 4,400 more than last month, and 13,000 more than one year ago. Manufacturing employment continued to trend up, and job gains were also reported for several service-providing industries. The March increase marks the third consecutive month of gains for nonfarm employment, and the fifth increase in the past six months.
Leisure and hospitality led all sectors in March with a gain of 2,100 jobs. Eating and drinking establishments accounted for most of the increase. Trade and transportation followed with a gain of 1,800; 1,400 of the increase was concentrated in wholesale trade. Manufacturing added 1,400 jobs due to hiring in machinery and transportation equipment. However, gains that occurred in durable goods factories were partially offset by losses in nondurable goods manufacturing. The monthly gain of 1,100 in education and health was primarily due to continued growth in health services. Professional and business services reflected the largest loss for the month, down 1,300.
Iowa’s nonfarm employment has increased by 13,000 jobs, or 0.9 percent, since March 2010. Trade and transportation contributed the most jobs over the year, adding 5,800. Most of the hiring occurred in wholesale trade and transportation, while retail trade advanced by a slight 300. Leisure and hospitality added 5,200 jobs over the year, showing a strong reversal from the large job losses incurred during the recession. Professional and business services and manufacturing added 2,900 and 2,500, respectively. On the other hand, finance decreased by 1,400 since last March, following a slow, downward trend that began in June 2008. Construction, government and information also registered losses since last March.
MEDIA ALERT: An audio cut of comments about Iowa’s labor market situation is available by calling (515) 281-6057. Statewide data for April 2011 will be released on May 20, and local data will be available on May 24, 2011.