Iowa’s unemployment rate inched up to 4.5 percent in March, primarily driven by another large increase in the state’s labor force, according to the Iowa Workforce Development. The unemployment rate sat at 4.4 percent in February and 4.8 percent in March 2013.
The state’s unemployment rate is still well below the national rate, which held steady at 6.7 percent.
The statewide estimate of unemployed persons edged up to 76,000 in March from 74,200 in February. The number of unemployed was 79,300 one year ago.
The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,615,200 in March, 27,100 higher than last year.
Nonfarm employment shed 1,700 jobs in March. The loss is the second in the last three months, and was heavily influenced by declines in the goods-producing sectors coupled with weak hiring in professional and business services.
Nonfarm employment has grown by 17,300 jobs over the year, but the pace of growth has started to slow in recent months.
Leisure and hospitality added 1,500 jobs, which were heavily concentrated in accommodations and food services (+1,000).
Other gains this month included financial activities (+500), and information (+100). Losses were heaviest in the manufacturing sector, which lost 1,300 jobs. This was the third straight month of loss for manufacturing.
Professional and business services shed 1,200 jobs, the first decline since October for the sector.
The education and health services sector added 4,000 since last March, while leisure and hospitality advanced 3,600 jobs, and trade and transportation gained 3,400. Information lost 800 jobs when compared with last March.