Jobless rate edges down in Cedar Rapids, up in Iowa City

Nonfarm employment adds jobs in both cities

The Cedar Rapids unemployment rate edged lower in May from the previous month, but the jobless rate in Iowa City inched up.

Iowa Workforce Development on Tuesday reported the jobless rate in the Cedar Rapids metropolitan statistical area slid 0.5 percent to 4.7 percent in May from 4.8 percent in April.

The Cedar Rapids jobless rate last dropped below 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent in August 2008 before the start of the recession. The final quarter of 2012 was somewhat of an anomaly as the unemployment rate climbed back above 5 percent in January 2013.

A total of 136,400 Cedar Rapids area residents were employed last month, down 1,000 from 137,400 in April.

Total nonfarm employment in the Cedar Rapids metropolitan statistical area added 600 jobs from April, and stands at 142,100 jobs. This also is  an increase of 600 from a year ago.

Natural resources and construction enjoyed a seasonal boost, adding 600 jobs and representing a gain of 300 jobs from May 2012. Leisure and hospitality added 300 seasonal jobs but remains 400 below May 2012.

Trade, transportation and warehousing added 200 jobs, 100 each in wholesale and retail trade. Professional and business services remained unchanged. Educational and health services shed 800 jobs.

The unemployment rate edged up to 3.2 percent in the Iowa City MSA last month, up 0.1 percent from 3.1 percent in April. The labor force was unchanged from April at 92,300 in May and 89,300 residents were employed last month, down from 89,500 in April.

Nonfarm employment in the Iowa City metropolitan statistical area gained 1,000 jobs from last month, representing the  fourth consecutive month of gains. The job gains were spread among nearly every industry, including: trade, transportation and warehousing (100), professional and business services (100), leisure and hospitality (200) and government (300).

Unemployment figures do not include Iowans who were no longer eligible for the program, stopped looking for work or who were not participating due to disabilities or for other reasons.

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