Iowa’s unemployment rate steady for third straight month

DES MOINES — Iowa businesses boosted their employment last month and Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Cory Kelly says the jobs improvement in May is the first for the state since February. “The state added 5,500 jobs, so the economy is showing signs of optimism,” Kelly said.

The 55-hundred jobs added in May helped offset losses of 35-hundred jobs over the previous two months. The unemployment rate in May stayed at 3.1 percent for the third straight month. Iowa has one of the lowest jobless rates in the country. “We are seventh nationally, tied with Vermont and Wisconsin,” Kelly said.

Iowa’s unemployment rate one year ago was 3.8 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate in May dropped to 4.3 percent. In Iowa, the trade and transportation sector led private industries in job gains last month. Kelly says trade and transportation added 2,400 jobs due to hiring in both retail and wholesale trade.

Manufacturing was a close second in May job gains. “Manufacturing added 2,300 jobs this month to help ease some of the recent losses plaguing this sector,” Kelly said.

Meanwhile, Iowa’s leisure and hospitality sector shed 1,200 jobs in May. “Leisure and hospitality led job losses this month, down for the fourth straight month,” Kelly said. “Those declines are almost entirely focused in accommodations and food services.”

The new Workforce Development report shows the number of unemployed Iowans increased to 52,900 in May. The current estimate is 11,200 lower than one year ago. The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,636,400 in May. That’s 3,400 lower than April and 100 higher than one year ago.

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