(The Center Square) – The leisure and hospitality industry added the most jobs in January compared with other industries, Iowa Workforce Development announced Monday.
While the industry lost 800 jobs in December, the additions of 2,500 jobs to the industry and 6,500 jobs for accommodations and food service sector are a steady upward trend since COVID quarantine efforts, the department’s news release said.
Iowa Hotel & Lodging Association President and Iowa Restaurant Association President and CEO Jessica Dunker told The Center Square in a texted statement Monday that while there have been gains in employment numbers, the hospitality industry is still operationally hindered.
“That’s why you are seeing higher wages, better benefits and hiring incentives in so many places,” she said. “We were short staffed before Covid and many of our most experienced workers found employment in other industries. They’re not coming back, and we are living with the reality that we have to learn how to do things with fewer employees.”
Dunker said she anticipates more restaurants will close and attributes those closures to COVID disruptions.
Since January 2021, leisure and hospitality has continued to restaff and lead sectors with 16,500 jobs. Fourteen thousand of those jobs are in accommodations and food services.
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment across industries decreased to 3.7% in January, the release said. In December 2021, the rate was 3.9% and the jobless rate was 4.4% a year ago. There were 62,700 unemployed Iowans in January, down 2,000 from December, and 6,900 Iowans joined the workforce. The labor force participation rate increased to 66.8%. Iowa businesses added 3,000 jobs in January. Nonfarm employment became 1,556,300.
“These numbers show Iowa’s economic recovery is continuing to press forward,” IWD Director Beth Townsend said in the release. “IWD’s role is to continue that momentum by getting unemployed Iowans back into the workforce as quickly as possible. Since January, more than 640 Iowans involved in our Reemployment Case Management program have found new jobs. We will work as hard as possible to keep that number growing.”
Gains were seen in goods production and service industries (especially accommodations and eating and drinking establishments).
Manufacturing gained 1,700 jobs, particularly in nondurable goods production (1,100). Food production and animal slaughtering and processing also added jobs. The construction industry has gained 2,800 jobs in the past quarter, the release said. Personal care industries cutbacks contributed to a loss of 1,000 jobs in other services.
Private industries gained 1,600 jobs and government added 1,400 jobs (800 in local government) in January.JessSince January 2021, total nonfarm employment has increased two percent (31,100 jobs). Manufacturing has added 4,200 jobs through durable and nondurable goods workshops, while health care and social assistance lost 3,200 jobs in the past year. It lost 800 jobs in the past two months. Government is up 7,900 jobs compared with last year, mostly at the local level.
Nationally, the unemployment rate in January increased to 4.0 percent.