Unemployment rate drops in April

DES MOINES — Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped down to 2.7% in April, compared to 2.8% in March.

Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Jesse Dougherty says the labor force participation rate moved up slightly. “Our labor force added 4300 new workers. So, I think what’s notable about that is that’s not only encouraging news, you know, for the job seekers that are finding jobs, but also encouraging for the employers in Iowa to know that pool of available workers is growing,” he says.

Dougherty says the participation rate and getting more people back looking for work is important. “It continues to climb up. And that’s something that we continue to watch that shows us the labor pool is active, the workforce is in a healthier spot than it certainly was a couple of years ago. So that’s very encouraging sign for us,” he says.

Manufacturing saw an increase of 1400 jobs. “That was really driven by a couple of factors within durable goods, factories, as well as some other production facilities,” Dougherty says. “We also saw growth and healthcare and retail and you know, retail has gone through some ebbs and flows the last two or three years. So that was encouraging sign to see another month, as well as healthcare. So we saw a couple of industries that really have gone through a lot. And you know, in the early days of the pandemic that have appeared to be a little bit more steady of climb.” 

He says there was a negative in the overall employment number. “We did see some slight losses in overall non-farm employment. That was driven by some areas that receiving some general tightening in the economy, certainly with interest rates, and some other concerns that are there, we see some of that,” he says.   

That drop was 300 jobs in total nonfarm employment from March to April, the first loss since November 2022. Dougherty says it’s not a concern for the overall economy.  “Over the past 12 months we still have a net gain of over 26,000 jobs. So that’s something we continue to look at when we’re looking at things long term,” he says.

Iowa Workforce Development says the lowest Iowa unemployment rate was 2.3% in April 2022. That number came after the U-S Labor Department made its annual revisions for the year.