Unemployment rate falls to 2.7 percent in May

DES MOINES ? Iowa?s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.7 percent in May. The state?s jobless rate was 3.2 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in May.

?May was another positive month for Iowa?s workforce and economy,? said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development director. ?More Iowans are working than the same time last year and construction hiring is again on the upswing, with over 4,000 jobs added since January. What Iowa needs are more workers and we need to be doing everything we can, as a state to increase the number of skilled workers, like Future Ready Iowa. The good news is that we are working closely with business and industry, nonprofits, and all levels of education especially community colleges, to find ways to get more people into training programs.?

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 46,000 in May from 47,000 in April. The current estimate is 7,900 lower than the year ago level of 53,900.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,630,100 in May. This figure was 2,900 higher than April and 3,300 higher than one year ago.


Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa?s business establishments added 3,300 jobs in May, raising total nonfarm employment to 1,586,400 jobs. This month?s gain is moderate and helps offset the sluggish job numbers that afflicted the state last month. It is also the third increase for 2018.

The job growth was primarily the result of service industries bolstering employment, although goods producing sectors added 900 jobs in total.

On the other hand, May also marks another month of little change for the government sector. Only 200 jobs were added this month overall, while there was no change in March. Over the past 12 months, government has added a slight 700 jobs due to hiring at the local level.

Trade industries fueled much of the growth this month. Wholesale trade rebounded from two consecutive months of losses to add 1,100 jobs. For the first time in 2018, retail trade made a significant monthly advancement (+900). Job gains for retail are welcome news as this sector has steadily trended down since a recent high established in August of 2016. The overall outlook for retail, however, is for jobs to be trimmed as this sector deals with shifting consumer preferences.

Administrative support and waste management industries, specifically temporary help and landscaping, advanced by more than expected this month (+1,100).

Construction added jobs for the fourth consecutive month (+1,000), with 4,100 jobs being added since January. This sector had been dealing with annual losses following a slight regression from a peak established in early 2016.

Losses were limited to just a few sectors, and led by accommodations and food services (-800), nondurable goods manufacturing (-400), and finance and insurance (-400).

Since last May, Iowa establishments have added 17,100 jobs. Durable and nondurable goods factories have combined for 9,800 jobs added. In a distant second were both health care and transportation, each having added 2,500 jobs.

Retail trade has led all sectors in terms of losses (-2,800) followed by private education services (-2,200) and other services (-2,100).

Visit for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

Statewide data for June 2018 will be released on July 20.