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Iowa Unemployment Rate Increases to 5.5 Percent

September 25, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

DES MOINES, IOWA Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5.5 percent in August from 5.3 percent in July, but was substantially lower than the year ago rate of 6.0 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate for August fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July largely due to the number of people that dropped out of the labor force.

"Seasonal job losses and an uncertain economic outlook are currently restraining job growth," said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "The statewide economy is reacting to the effects of drought conditions, a global economic slowdown and the national uncertainty surrounding taxes and expenditure cuts."

The number of unemployed Iowans edged up to 90,000 in August from 87,900 in July, but was down substantially from the August 2011 level of 99,900.

The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,552,500 in August from 1,563,400 in July. Total employment was reported at 1,560,500 one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa's nonfarm employment declined by a slight 400 jobs in August, lowering employment to 1,492,500. Employment in seasonal industries was adversely affected this month, partially due to an early reduction in temporary employment. Local government offset some of the decline by adding jobs in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Seasonal job losses dampened job growth in August. This was most evident in leisure and hospitality (-2,100), where the majority of the drop was in recreational activities (-1,600). Construction also pared jobs this month (-1,700). The sector has lost jobs for the fourth consecutive month, which suggests that projects are being curtailed until the economic outlook improves. Manufacturing was down 900 jobs in August with losses reflected in both durable and nondurable goods. The sector has led the economic recovery, but has suffered its third job loss in the last four months. Job gains in August were concentrated in the service-related sectors. Government posted a gain of 3,400 with most of the increase in local government (+3,300). Trade and transportation advanced by 600 and finance was up 500.

Compared to last year, nonfarm employment is up 11,600 jobs. However, the strength in annual job growth has waned due to weak job growth over the past three months. Despite its recent weakness, manufacturing continues to fuel the year-over-year growth in the state (+8,400). Finance added 2,500 jobs since last August, and other services grew by 900. Annual losses occurred in leisure and hospitality (-900) and trade and transportation (-500).



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