Business

Iowa payroll jobs decline for second month

State drops 2,400 jobs since last year

Manufacturing, down 1,400 jobs, showed the largest decline in the month. (Seattle Times)
Manufacturing, down 1,400 jobs, showed the largest decline in the month. (Seattle Times)

Iowa payroll jobs dropped for the second straight month in December and the unemployment rate rose to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in November.

Nonfarm jobs dropped by 3,100 to 1,591,000, according to preliminary figures from Iowa Workforce Development. Four of the 11 major job categories showed gains in December, and seven registered declines.

Construction at 1,500 and leisure and hospitality at 1,200 were the largest increases. Manufacturing, down 1,400 jobs, showed the largest decline in the month, followed by trade and transportation, and professional and business services, at 1,200 each.

Over the year, construction jobs led gains at 4,500, followed by government at 2,000 and “other services” jobs at 1,500.

Trade and transportation led declines at 3,300, followed by professional and business services at 2,900.

“The year 2019 was not a good one for Iowa jobs,” said Mike Owen, executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City.

“There is no getting around it. We are looking at an actual net decline in payroll jobs over a year, something Iowa has not experienced since the last recession.

“If the preliminary December numbers stand, Iowa was down 2,400 jobs over the calendar year.”

Payroll jobs also fell and jobless rates rose last month in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor.

The Cedar Rapids metropolitan statistical area pared 1,300 jobs in December, driven by job losses in both service-providing and goods producing industries. Professional and business services trimmed 300 jobs.

Manufacturing, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government each shed 200 jobs. Information shaved 100 jobs from its total employment.

The only industries with job gains in December were trade, transportation and warehousing and financial activities, each adding 100 jobs.

For the year, Cedar Rapids area employment has increased by 600, and stands at 145,800 jobs. Professional and business services and government each added 400 jobs, outperforming all other sectors.

Employment in the Iowa City metropolitan statistical area decreased by 1,300 jobs from November with a split between private service providing industry losses and losses in government.

Local government pared 200 jobs over the month while state government shed 500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality and professional and business services each trimmed 100 jobs.

Manufacturing employment dropped by 300 jobs.

For all of 2019, the Iowa City area lost 800 jobs, with a minimal gain of 200 jobs in leisure and hospitality. Government trimmed 100 jobs with a gain of 100 positions in state government partially offsetting losses of 100 jobs in both federal and local government.

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