Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Drops in February

(Radio Iowa) Numbers out today (Thursday) show Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped below three percent in February. Iowa Workforce Development director, Beth Townsend, says that’s one of the positives for the state.

“The unemployment rate went down to two-point-nine percent (2.9%), which is a tenth of a point decrease from last month, which is always good news. And our labor force participation rate, we maintained the strong gains we had made in December in January. So we’re still at, we’re at 68point-one percent which is a good sign,” Townsend says. She says the participation rate is important as they have been working to get more people back into the workforce.

In January I think we gained almost a half a point, that was a pretty good increase. We had been trending up, but it was pretty small increments, and then we saw a big jump in December,” she says. Townsend says manufacturing
added 700 jobs in February.

They’re up about four-thousand-300 jobs over the course of the year. Iowa’s economy is really reliant upon advanced manufacturing. So that’s a good sign,” she says. “We do see that transportation and warehousing is down a little bit over the last year about two-thousand jobs, which probably is related to supply chain and inflation and more indicative of what’s going on federally, nationally.” Townsend says leisure and hospitality jobs are up almost 45-hundred jobs over the course of the year, and the service industries had the biggest increase in jobs this past month

“Gained 13-hundred jobs. So we’re seeing some good indications that our economy is is resilient and riding the storm out of what’s going on nationally from an economic standpoint,” Townsend says. The construction industry did lose 16-hundred jobs in February — which Townsend says is probably related to bad weather. She says they expect to see the industry gain back jobs as the weather improves and more projects get underway outside.