Iowa’s unemployment rate drops in December

DES MOINES — Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in December after four months of slight increases.

Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend says the rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 3.2%. “It’s a small change. But I think just people getting back into the workforce, who maybe hadn’t been in before. And also, if you remember, December, weather was actually pretty good,” she says, “so, you know, more people probably worked longer end of the month than we might normally see.”

Construction is one industry that saw more work for employees with the better weather. “I thought the good news that we saw this, in December was that construction added 1400 jobs, they’re up three thousand jobs over the year, and manufacturing added 1100 jobs in December, and they’re up over 4800 jobs in the last 12 months,” she says. “And those are two key industries in Iowa. So the fact that they both added jobs in December and are up from up over the previous year is a very good sign.”

The number of people in the workforce did drop by 8500 in December. “Most of them reported that it was a voluntary leave. So it could just be, you know, December holidays, that kind of thing. But the fact that they left voluntarily, and it was not the product of mass layoffs or layoffs across an entire industry is a good indication,” Townsend says.

Townsend says there are still some 60,000 jobs open in the state, and says industries like healthcare have a lot to offer. “They’re always probably the number one industry with openings. And so you know, if you’re looking for a good job and a good industry with great pay and benefits, healthcare is a really good area to be looking into,” Townsend says.

Townsend says Workforce Development can help you assess your skills and help you apply for a job, so you should contact them to take advantage of that help.