Iowa unemployment holds steady for August at 6.8% - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa unemployment holds steady for August at 6.8%

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowa's unemployment remained stable at 6.8% for the month of August.  That's according to Iowa Workforce Development.  The rate compares to 6.3% for the same month in 2009.

The U.S. unemployment rate for August was reported at 9.6 percent, up slightly from 9.5 percent in July.

"The August jobs numbers show that modest improvement has occurred over the past year," said Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "Corporate balance sheets are in much better shape than they were a year ago, making it more likely that hiring will strengthen in the months ahead."

The number of Iowa residents estimated as unemployed increased slightly to 114,200 in August from 113,300 in July. The statewide level of unemployed stood at 104,900 in August 2009.

The total number of working Iowans edged down to 1,558,200 in August from 1,560,800 in July. Total employment was reported at 1,569,000 one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa's total nonfarm employment decreased by 2,800 in August, lowering the new total to 1,472,300. The monthly loss was heavily attributable to downsizing in the public sector. The private industry sectors lost only 300 jobs.

Manufacturing continued to lead Iowa's recovery with a gain of 1,200, which was primarily centered in durable goods machinery and equipment production. Education and health services added 900 this month, entirely due to hiring in health care. Losses in government employment were a major factor this month, as the sector shed 2,500 jobs. Federal government declined by 1,100 jobs, as more temporary census workers continued to exit the labor force. Ongoing fiscal problems were largely responsible for the monthly job losses in state and local government, which dropped by a combined 1,400. Since last year, government employment has pared 7,100 jobs. Private sector losses in August were led by declines in trade and transportation (-2,200). Leisure and hospitality also posted a loss of 900.

Compared to August 2009, nonfarm employment is up 900. Professional and business services has added the most jobs at 8,700, and manufacturing followed with a gain of 7,100. Other services advanced by 2,500 since last year, and education and health services increased by 1,800. On the other hand, trade and transportation reflected a loss of 8,800 for the year. The entire sector incurred job losses; however, retail trade fared the worst (-3,800).

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