Iowa unemployment rate dips to five-year low

Trade and transportation added the most jobs this month

George Ford
Published: December 20 2013 | 1:50 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:07 am in
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Iowa's unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent in November from 4.6 percent in October, the lowest rate recorded since 2008, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Last month's jobless rate was o.5 percent below the 4.9 percent recorded in November 2012.

The statewide estimate of unemployed persons dropped to 72,500 in November from 75,700 in October. The number of unemployed Iowans stood at 79,600 in November 2012.

The total number of working Iowans continued on an upward course in November, climbing to 1,593,200 from 1,583,600 in October. The November figure is 44,900 higher than the November 2012 level of 1,548,300

"The Iowa job market appears to be on a path of steady and sustainable improvement," said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "Combined job gains for October and November totaled 5,000, and the state’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point in five years."

Total non-farm employment gained 2,200 jobs in November, lifting the total employment level to 1,529,900 jobs. The gain is the second straight increase for the state due to an upward revision for October.

Trade and transportation added the most jobs this month (+1,900), fueled by growth in transportation and warehousing. The sector was partially hampered by another disappointing loss in retail trade (-400), which marks the fourth straight drop for the retail as stores deal with cautious consumer spending.

Construction employment was partially buoyed by specialty trade contractors, and added an unexpected 900 jobs. Iowa’s construction sector has had a prosperous year, adding jobs in seven of the last eight months.

November employment losses  were slight, and included education and health services (-1,100), manufacturing (-800), and financial activities (-400).

Iowa Workforce Development will release November data for cities and counties on Monday.

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