(The Center Square) – Iowa labor force participation remained at 66.8 percent while seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent in September, Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday.
Iowa employers were able to add 7,000 jobs in September, “more than offsetting the loss of 3,700 jobs in August,” the agency’s news release said. There were an estimated 66,100 unemployed Iowans in September, down from 68,000 in August and 76,100 in September 2020. The total number of working Iowans increased 1,900, to 1,594,400 in September, which is 37,600 more than a year ago.
“Iowa’s economy is continuing its steady climb out of the pandemic,” Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said. “More and more people are finding work, while the number of initial unemployment claims continues to fall. The 7,176 initial claims in September represent a more than 68 percent drop from a year ago and the second lowest monthly number Iowa has seen over the past 20 years. Going forward, it’s imperative that we do everything possible to ensure these positive trends continue.”
The state’s payments on continued claims totaled $17.6 million in September, down from $20.3 million in August and $84.5 million in September 2020. Townsend announced last week that the agency is launching a new program early in 2022 to address unemployment.
Hiring was “particularly strong” in trade, accommodations and food services, and manufacturing (up 1,900 jobs) – especially in agriculture and construction machinery manufacturing.
Retail added 2,400 jobs in September. That’s the fourth consecutive month of jobs growth for the industry, which experienced “a rough start” at the beginning of 2021. The state’s statistics showed jobs in retail trade decreased 1,200 in January, 2,400 in April and 900 in May following a devastating loss of 23,000 in April 2020.
“This may be early evidence of a strong holiday shopping season similar to last year,” the release said.
Leisure and hospitality added 1,700 jobs, mostly in eating and drinking establishments, after experiencing a loss in August. Financial activities gained 900 jobs in September, which is the first change since June.
Job decreases in September included positions in the administrative and support and waste management fields, which is down 1,100 jobs. Education and health care services together lost 400 jobs.
Nonfarm employment has increased 36,100 since last year, with 13,800 job additions in leisure and hospitality (particularly accommodations and food services) and 8,900 jobs added in manufacturing. Durable goods factories have experienced more growth than non-durable goods shops. Retail trade now has 5,200 more jobs than it had a year ago.
Since September 2020, health care and social assistance (-1,100), management of companies and enterprises (-600), information (-400) and state government jobs decreased 2,000, which is 1,900 fewer than in September 2020.
Nationally, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in September.