Iowa jobless rate creeps up after year of consistent low levels

State's unemployment rate still lower than nation's average

A sign marks the entrance to a job fair.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
A sign marks the entrance to a job fair. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Iowa’s unemployment rate went up slightly — by 0.1 percent, to 2.5 percent — in July, the first increase in a year, Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday.

The last time the state’s jobless rate was at 2.5 percent was in June 2018, the agency said.

Agency Director Beth Townsend acknowledged the increase but also noted an increase in the number of working Iowans, compared to last month and one year ago.

In July, 1,680,500 Iowans were working, up 4,000 from June and 35,500 from July 2018.

“We continue to have more job openings than we have Iowans to fill them,” Townsend said in a news release.

“We have recently seen hundreds of Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarships awarded by our community colleges,” she said, “which is a good indication that there are many Iowans who want to get upskilled to take advantage of all of the good jobs available in Iowa.”

The latest statistics show 1,400 more Iowans were unemployed in July than in June, with the number of workers increasing from 41,400 to 42,800. That number is 1,800 higher than in July 2018.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in July.

Iowa businesses added 1,800 jobs last month, with the lion’s share falling into the professional and business service category, with 1,400 jobs added. Food service and accommodations added 900 new jobs.

Decreases were reported in financial services, down 1,000 jobs, and manufacturing, down 700.

Iowans who have stopped looking for work or who otherwise have cycled out of the system are not counted as unemployed.

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