Iowa nonfarm hiring 'sluggish' past two months

Unemployment rate stayed at 3.1 percent in April

Crew members work on the temporary bridge crossing the Iowa River at Park Street along Dubuque Street in Iowa City on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Construction crews are nearing completion on the temporary bridge form that is needed before pouring the concrete that will make up the completed bridge. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Crew members work on the temporary bridge crossing the Iowa River at Park Street along Dubuque Street in Iowa City on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Construction crews are nearing completion on the temporary bridge form that is needed before pouring the concrete that will make up the completed bridge. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa’s construction and manufacturing industries shed jobs in the past 12 months, but the state’s nonfarm employment still has gained ground.

The state’s unemployment rate in April remained at 3.1 percent, matching the March jobless rate. It also was down from 3.8 percent in April 2016.

In addition, nonfarm employment has gained 8,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

Even so, nonfarm hiring was “sluggish” in March and April after a surge earlier in the year, Iowa Workforce Development said Friday.

While there were year-over-year gains, Iowa has lost 1,400 nonfarm jobs since February, the agency said.

The state lost 500 nonfarm jobs from March to April, with six of Iowa’s 11 industry clusters shedding jobs. The biggest declines were in construction and manufacturing.

“There was another small decrease in total nonfarm employment for the state, a possible sign that businesses are a little more apprehensive about hiring to begin the summer season compared to previous years,” Townsend said in a statement.

The unemployment rate nationwide fell to 4.4 percent in April, down from 4.5 percent in March and 5 percent the year before.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; matthew.patane@thegazette.com

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