Iowa's February jobless rate up, local numbers slightly down - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's February jobless rate up, local numbers slightly down


DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly in February but remains far beneath the national rate.

Iowa Workforce Development announced Tuesday that Iowa's rate inched up to 4.9% from the January rate of 4.8%. In February 2008, Iowa's jobless rate was 3.9%.

The national unemployment rate for February was 8.1%, the highest level since 1983.

Workforce Development says about 1.6 million Iowans were working in February, down about 22,000 from a year ago.

Unemployment numbers from Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are down a bit, as are numbers in Black Hawk and Johnson counties. Unemployment numbers in Linn and Dubuque counties are unchanged from January.

Here is a look at February unemployment numbers in some eastern Iowa communities.

Waterloo: 4.9% - down .1% from January

Cedar Rapids: 5.3% - down .1% from January

Iowa City: 3.8% - down .2% from January

Click here for county-by-county unemployment statistics.

"Although Iowa remains in a better position than most states to weather the current recession, job losses have deepened over the past six months," said Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "Iowa employers continue to trim their payrolls in response to declining sales and profits."

The total number of working Iowans trended downward to 1,587,100 in February from 1,592,100 in January. Total employment in the state was reported at 1,609,100 one year ago, which was 22,000 higher than the current figure.

The statewide estimate of unemployed persons increased to 82,500 in February from 80,000 in January. One year ago, the number of unemployed state residents was reported at 65,500.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Total nonfarm employment in Iowa contracted by 6,900 in February, following an unusually large gain in January. Nonfarm employment currently stands at 1,505,000.

Job losses for February were heavily concentrated in manufacturing, primarily in durable goods products. The sector was down 8,400 jobs from the prior month. Professional and business services declined by 1,500 in February, while the financial sector was down 1,100. Trade and transportation increased the most this month, up 1,400; as retail trade grew by a stronger-than-expected pace. Other services and health and education added 600 each. Government advanced by 500, and construction gained 400.

Compared to last year, nonfarm employment has dropped by 22,400. Manufacturing incurred the largest loss due to the recession, down 20,000. Professional and business services decreased by 9,400, while construction jobs were pared by 1,900. Education and health added 4,400 over the year, fueled by steady growth in the health services. Trade and transportation gained 3,600; and government grew by 2,600.

Click here for current and historical labor force data and
Click here for detailed information on nonfarm employment.

Visit for information on hours and earnings and to obtain a breakout of jobless benefits by county.

Online Producer: JJ Murray

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