Iowa sheds 900 jobs in August

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa lost nearly 1,000 jobs last month, after a steady period of residents picking up work, Iowa Workforce Development reported Sept. 20.

The 900 jobs shed in August resulted in a slight bump up in the state’s unemployment rate, to 4.9 percent.

The seasonally adjusted rate stood at 4.8 percent in July and 5.3 percent a year earlier, the Des Moines-based employment security agency said.

August marks only the second month this year that the state saw employment numbers fall; March had a decline of 4,700 jobs.

The cuts were widespread, with transportation and trade cutting 1,300 jobs, professional and business services, falling 1,200 positions, and the leisure and hospitality sector slicing 900 jobs.

Manufacturing, long concerned as one of the stronger state job outlooks, declined by 500.
But not all sectors suffered, and the state has 19,800 more jobs last month than it did in August 2012.

Education and health services saw gains of 500 jobs, and construction grew by 200. The strongest sector, however, came in government, which grew by 3,700 jobs.

“Encouraged by the upward trend in total employment for the year, more Iowans are entering the labor force,” Teresa Wahlert, the director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in the release. “Iowa’s labor force reached its highest level for the year in August at 1,655,300.”

The losses in transportation and trade were a result of a drop in retail trade, the state report said, ending a four-month job-growth pattern in that sector.

Construction — which saw the largest jobs benefit, was up 4,500 jobs this year, followed by manufacturing and professional and business services, which both saw 4,400 more jobs in the same time period.

Despite the loss, the state’s unemployment rate in August, it still bucked a national trend.

The U.S. unemployment rate last month stood several percentage points higher. The decrease to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent in July came because fewer people looked for work.

— by Quentin Misiag

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