Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through March 2016)
Jobs up, but slowly
Payroll job growth restrained as jobless rate rises again, to 3.8 percent
Iowa JobWatch — March 2016

Issued Friday, April 15, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (April 15, 2016) — Iowa’s sluggish job picture held to form with a slight increase in March — but also an increase in the unemployment rate.

New data released today by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) showed an uptick in the unemployment rate, from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent. The rate also was 3.7 percent in March 2015.

The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen about the new seasonally adjusted jobs data from IWD and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Iowa's job performance is in a funk through the first three months of the year. Despite a jump of 6,700 in January, losses in February wiped out the gains and March was up only 1,600, which is in line with the monthly averages we have seen for a few years now.

Looking just at the number of jobs — which is a coarse measure without a deeper dive into job categories and the quality of jobs lost vs. jobs gained — Iowa's job growth remains staggeringly slow. Notably, two of the ‘good job’ categories, manufacturing and construction, showed opposite trends in March, with construction up 3,600 but manufacturing down 3,000, the biggest changes in either direction among all job sectors.”

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs rose in March by 1,600 to 1,575,400 from a downwardly revised 1,573,800 in February. Nonfarm jobs (seasonally adjusted) were 15,300 ahead of where they stood in March 2015.
• The unemployment rate rose to 3.8 percent in March from 3.7 percent in February. The rate was also 3.7 percent in March 2015.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 500 to 1,714,700, and was 14,500 ahead of March 2015.
• Only four of the 11 major job sectors showed declines in March, the largest drops coming in manufacturing (3,100), and education and health services (800).
• Construction led gainers for the month with 3,600 added jobs, while two categories added 900 each — trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services.

Key Trends
• Iowa has gained nonfarm or payroll jobs in 18 of the last 24 months, but four of those declines were in the past 10 months.
• Iowa averaged a monthly increase of about 1,300 jobs from March 2015 to March 2016.
• Over the last 12 months, the strongest percentage gains were in construction, up 9.6 percent (7,500 jobs), and “other” services, up 6.1 percent (3,600 jobs).
• Four of the major 11 job categories were down from a year earlier: manufacturing (6,100, or 2.8 percent), information (1,600, or 6.4 percent), professional and business services (1,500, or 1.1 percent), and mining (100, or 4.2 percent).