Business

Iowa's unemployment rate drops to 4.7% in September

State sees eighth consecutive drop in labor force participation

A #x201c;now hiring#x201d; sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie's Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Cora
A “now hiring” sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie’s Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville in early September. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment fell from 6.3 percent to 4.7 percent in September, Iowa Workforce Development said Tuesday morning. That marks the fifth consecutive month with a declining unemployment rate.

In Linn County, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in August to 5.7 percent in September. In Johnson County, it decreased from 6.3 percent to 4.1 percent.

The recovery in employment has varied between industries, with the state seeing a total increase of 6,500 nonfarm jobs in September.

Leisure and hospitality added 4,000 jobs, manufacturing added 1,400 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities added 1,400 jobs in September.

But other industries saw a setback in September. Construction employment dropped by 2,600 jobs, and professional and business services lost 900 jobs.

Employment has increased, though, in most industries since April, when statewide unemployment peaked at 11 percent.

Unemployment in the state still is higher than in pre-pandemic levels, though. In September 2019, the statewide unemployment rate was at 2.8 percent.

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The state paid out $84.5 million in unemployment claims in September 2020, compared to $18.7 million a year ago.

Iowa is seeing a trend similar to the national unemployment rate, which dropped from 8.4 percent to 7.9 percent in September.

While more Iowans are working than a month ago, many are exiting the labor force. Iowa has 65.1 percent of residents in the labor force, the lowest in at least two decades.

That number has decreased for eight consecutive months.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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