Iowa unemployment rate reaches 22-year high - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa unemployment rate reaches 22-year high


DES MOINES (KWWL) - The combined effects of continuing layoffs and recent graduates entering the job market pushed the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 6.2 percent in June from a revised May rate of 5.7 percent. That's according to newly released numbers from Iowa Workforce Development. One year ago, Iowa's unemployment rate was reported at a much lower 4.1 percent. However, the statewide jobless rate compares favorably with the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.5 percent for June.

"The June labor market numbers depict the effects of a severe and lingering recession on the Iowa economy," said Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "Iowa followed the national trend in June with its steepest job cuts occurring in construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services."

All told, the number of unemployed persons climbed to 104,100 in June, the highest level reported since February 1986. The June estimate compares with 95,800 for May, and 68,400 for June 2008.

The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,578,600 in June from 1,583,100 in May. Since June 2008, the number of employed state residents has decreased by 27,500.

Total nonfarm employment contracted by 3,400 in June, marking the fifth consecutive month of declines. Iowa's nonfarm employment currently stands at 1,480,000, the lowest level recorded since June 2005. Iowa has shed 43,000 jobs since June 2008, a decline of 2.8 percent.

Manufacturing employment was down 1,800 in June, as factories continued to downsize in the wake of decreasing orders. Professional and business services followed with a drop of 1,600 with temporary help services accounting for a major share of the sector's job losses. Construction pared 1,100 jobs, bringing the sector to its lowest employment level since August 2003. In the positive column, education and health and leisure and hospitality added 700 jobs each. Finance and trade and transportation reported smaller monthly gains of 500 and 400, respectively.

The manufacturing sector posted a loss of 27,700 jobs since June 2008, representing 64 percent of the total jobs losses that have occurred over the year. Other sectors reflecting substantial declines compared to one year ago are professional and business services, down 11,100; and construction, down 7,300. Education and health added 4,400 jobs over the year followed by smaller gains of 400 each in finance and government.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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