Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through November 2016)
Three-month job slump for Iowa
Jobless rate drops to 3.8 percent but payroll numbers fall

Iowa JobWatch — December 2016

Issued Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Dec. 20, 2016) — Iowa dropped payroll jobs for the third straight month as the unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent in November.

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

“This is the first time in six years that we have seen three straight months of job losses, and this 8,600-job slump is digging a deeper hole than the previous one. A four-month dip in 2010 from June through September cost the state 8,300 jobs, but all were made up the following month. So we could come back from this, though a one-month increase of that magnitude would be very unusual.

“In fact, as we prepare to close the books on 2016, we can see it has been a bleak year for job growth in Iowa. These preliminary numbers for November are only 6,200 ahead of where we stood at the start of the year. The pace of job growth over the last 12 months is a very weak average of 800 per month.”

JobWatch graphs

Key Numbers
• Iowa nonfarm jobs dropped to 1,580,100 in November, down 4,700 from a slightly upwardly revised 1,584,800 in October.
• Iowa's unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, down from 4.1 percent in October.
• Only three of the 11 major job categories showed gains, with only one — professional and business services — rising by more than 1,000 in the month. Besides that 1,400 gain, there were increases of 300 in education and health services and 100 in financial activities.
• Trade, transportation and utilities led declines with 2,300. The only other declines greater than 1,000 were in manufacturing (1,400) and “other” services (1,200).

Key Trends
• Iowa nonfarm jobs were up 10,000 over the 12 months from November 2015 to November 2016, or an average of about 800 jobs per month — about 0.6 percent growth.
• Iowa has gained nonfarm jobs in seven of the last 12 months, but showed net losses in the last three.
• Over the year, construction jobs have gained the most (8,300), or about a 10 percent increase. Education and health services (4,200) and financial activities (3,900) have shown the next largest 12-month gains.
• Four categories have shown declines over the last year: manufacturing (7,300), professional and business services (2,200), information (1,300) and government (1,300).

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Iowa City that has been tracking Iowa job issues since its founding in 2001. Find reports at