Issued Monday, April 20, 2020
IOWA CITY, Iowa (April 20, 2020) — Iowa payroll jobs dropped for the fifth straight month in March, the monthly numbers beginning to show the employment issues that are more clearly indicated by spiraling unemployment insurance claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released this statement from executive director Mike Owen about the preliminary March numbers reported by Iowa Workforce Development.
“That Iowa's payroll job numbers were down in March comes as no surprise. Already showing weakness before the coronavirus emergency, with a net loss of jobs in 2019, the Iowa job situation is worse than the 3,500 drop that these latest March numbers show.
“Weekly reports on uninsurance claims over the last four weeks showed an increase of 207,468 through April 11.
“As Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend stated in IWD's news release, the March report ‘only reflects the very beginning of the impact of the substantial increase in unemployment claims’ since mid-March, with April expected to more accurately reflect COVID-19 impacts on the Iowa unemployment rate and payroll jobs.
“Nevertheless, the March numbers reflect real economic losses for businesses and households. The monthly numbers moving ahead will put a spotlight on the even greater economic challenges that will demand greater attention after the issues surrounding public health and controlling the spread of the virus are past.”
The Iowa Policy Project (IPP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research and analysis organization based in Iowa City. IPP has been tracking Iowa job trends since its founding in 2001 and has regularly provided reflections on official monthly job reports since 2003.
• Nonfarm jobs dropped by 3,500 to 1,577,800, the fifth straight monthly drop and ninth in 11 months.
• Iowa's unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent. That is up from 2.8 percent in February and up a full percentage point from March 2019.
• Only three of the 11 major job categories showed gains in March, all by 200 jobs or less, in construction, financial activities and professional and business services.
• Eight sectors showed declines, with only two showing a change of 1,000 or more. Leisure and hospitality lost 1,600 jobs, education and health services 1,000.
• Iowa lost a net 7,100 jobs from March 2019 to March 2020.
• From March 2019 to March 2020, “other services” led the five categories showing gains, with 1,700. Construction was next at 1,400. Leisure and hospitality, which lost 1,600 in March, was up 1,200 over the year. Financial activities jobs were up 600, and government jobs were up 400.
• Over the 12 months, trade, transportation and utilities — the largest job category — was down 4,100, as was manufacturing, by 3,100, and professional and business services, by 2,000. Three other categories also showed losses over the year — education and health services (1,700), information (1,300), and mining (200).