DES MOINES – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.0 percent in July, but was down from 6.2 percent for the same month one year ago. While Iowa employers have steadily added jobs in 2011, the gain has not been large enough to significantly reduce the state’s jobless rate. The national unemployment rate for July eased down to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June.
“Nonfarm employment for July reflected resurgence in the state’s construction and manufacturing sectors,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Both industry sectors advanced to their highest employment levels for 2011, offering renewed optimism for a stronger performance in the second half of the year.”
The statewide estimate of unemployed state residents edged slightly higher to 100,900 in July from 100,200 in June, as a large number of recent school graduates began looking for work. The level of unemployment was reported at 103,500 in July 2010.
The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,568,300 in July; 7,500 less than in June, but 2,200 higher than one year ago. Total employment for the current year peaked at 1,583,400 in April.
Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Total nonfarm employment increased by 8,000 in July, raising the level to 1,487,800 for the state. Private industry grew by 2,900 jobs, while the public sectors were up 5,100 jobs. A seasonal shift in the school year accounted for most of the gains in government.
Local government added 5,900 jobs in July, more than offsetting last month’s decline. Manufacturing posted a gain of 1,800 due primarily to hiring in nondurable goods factories. Meanwhile, gains in machinery manufacturing fueled most of the job growth in durable goods. Construction added 1,600 jobs, and has rebounded slightly since April. This sector is up 2,500 jobs compared to one year ago. Leisure and hospitality grew by 1,400, with recreational activities contributing most of the increase this month. Trade and transportation incurred the largest loss over the month, down 1,900 jobs.
Compared to last July, nonfarm employment has advanced by 18,300 jobs. The progress reflected in leisure and hospitality eclipses any other sector with a year-over-year gain of 8,800. This is an encouraging sign, as consumers are once again displaying a willingness to spend more on non-essential services. Manufacturing and trade and transportation posted gains of 5,900 and 5,100, respectively. Government declined by 3,400 jobs over the year, as public entities continue to deal with the challenges and constraints of tighter budgets.