DES MOINES (SPECIAL) Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0 percent in May, but was down slightly from the year ago rate of 6.1 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May from 9.0 percent in April, while U.S. employers hired only 54,000 workers, the fewest in eight months.
“Iowa outperformed the nation in May by posting its strongest job growth for the year,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The state marked its fifth consecutive month of job gains led by strong hiring in the manufacturing sector.”
The statewide estimate of unemployed persons edged down to 100,900 in May from 101,600 in April. The level of unemployed was reported at 102,100 one year ago.
The total number of working Iowans dipped slightly to 1,582,500 in May from 1,583,400 in April, but was 14,700 higher than the year ago total of 1,567,800.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Nonfarm employment grew at its strongest pace for the year in May, increasing to 1,485,800. The gain of 4,400 was the strongest monthly increase since October 2010, when 7,000 jobs were added. The good-producing sectors—construction and manufacturing—fueled most of the job growth that occurred during the month.
Manufacturing continued to trend upward in May, adding 2,500 jobs. Both nondurable and durable goods factories reflected growth, adding 1,400 and 1,100 jobs, respectively. Leisure and hospitality posted a larger-than expected gain this month due to hiring in entertainment and recreation. Elsewhere, wholesale trade accounted for most of the monthly increase of 1,400 in trade and transportation. The beleaguered construction industry moved ahead by 1,000 as the weather improved, and other services was up 900. The job losses in May were concentrated in sectors that typically add jobs—professional and business services (-1,000) and education and health services (-1,100). Finance and government reflected smaller losses of 800 and 700, respectively.
The state’s nonfarm employment now stands 12,400 higher than one year ago. The overall trend compared to May 2010 is positive, with most of the gains contained in leisure and hospitality, up 8,500; and manufacturing, up 5,300. Government shed 3,700 jobs over the year, with all of the decline attributable to the loss of temporary census workers. Finance declined by 1,600 jobs since last May, the most of any private sector. Information services continued to downsize in Iowa, as well as nationally, and is down 1,100 jobs for the year.