Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: October 20, 2022
Contact: Jesse Dougherty
Telephone: 515-725-5487

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Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly, Labor Force Participation Holds Steady in September

Iowa’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.7 percent in September, while overall labor force participation held steady at 67.7 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September, but the nation’s labor force participation rate fell to 62.3 percent.

Iowa’s unemployment rate increased by a tenth-of-a-percent last month but is down from 4.1 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 46,500 in September from 44,700 in August but remains down 32 percent from 68,800 one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,662,900 in September. This figure is 1,900 lower than August but 53,600 higher than the number from one year ago. 

“September’s survey illustrates several areas that will require close observation in the months ahead as Iowa’s employers continue to battle record inflation and uncertainty in our economic environment,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Industries like manufacturing remain healthy, and Iowans still want to work, but the tightening national economy makes it more important than ever that we maintain our urgency about reemployment. In uncertain economic times, the best place to be is employed, and our Reemployment Case Management program helps Iowans who may be negatively impacted by the slowing economy minimize their time between jobs. With more than 82,000 jobs available on, now is the time to make those connections and help Iowans find their next great job as soon as possible.”

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

Iowa establishments shed 2,400 jobs in September, lowering total nonfarm employment down to 1,577,400 jobs. This loss, the first in six months, is the result of service industries scaling back in September. Prior to this loss, Iowa had added more than 17,400 jobs over the past five months. Private industries combined for almost the entire loss (-2,200), although government shed a slight 200 jobs due mostly to a drop in state government. Since last September, government remains up 3,600 jobs while the state has advanced by 37,500 jobs.

Health care and social assistance shed 1,000 jobs to lead all sectors in September. This sector has previously added jobs over the past two months. Despite this month’s loss, this sector has shown signs of expansion again and is 1,700 jobs above this time last year. Elsewhere, transportation and utilities shed 800 jobs and fueled a loss of 1,000 jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities. This is now the second consecutive loss for transportation and warehousing. Within this super sector, wholesale trade also pared 400 jobs. This was this sector’s first loss since April. Financial activities also trended down in September (-600). Job losses in this sector were highest in insurance carriers and related activities. Alternatively, job gains were led by manufacturing in September (+600). Nondurable goods factories were responsible for all the job gains this month with hiring being strongest in animal slaughtering and processing.

Over the past twelve months, leisure and hospitality has added the most jobs of any sector (+11,400). Accommodations and food services has been responsible for most of the jobs gained (+8,900). Manufacturing continues to hire and is up 8,800 jobs compared to last September. Nondurable goods factories are expanding faster than durable goods shops and have added 6,800 jobs alone. Retail trade has gained 4,300 jobs and fueled a gain of 6,200 jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities industries

MEDIA ALERT:  Local data for September 2022 will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.  Statewide data for October 2022 will be released on Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 9 a.m.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
        Change from
  September August September August September
  2022 2022 2021 2022 2021
Civilian labor force 1,709,400 1,709,500 1,678,100 -100 31,300
Unemployment 46,500 44,700 68,800 1,800 -22,300
Unemployment rate 2.7% 2.6% 4.1% 0.1 -1.4
Employment 1,662,900 1,664,800 1,609,300 -1,900 53,600
Labor Force Participation Rate 67.7% 67.7% 66.9% 0.0 0.8
U.S. unemployment rate 3.5% 3.7% 4.7% -0.2 -1.2
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment 1,577,400 1,579,800 1,539,900 -2,400 37,500
Mining 2,300 2,300 2,300 0 0
Construction 79,300 79,400 78,100 -100 1,200
Manufacturing 227,300 226,700 218,500 600 8,800
Trade, transportation and utilities 313,600 314,600 307,400 -1,000 6,200
Information 19,000 18,900 19,000 100 0
Financial activities 109,000 109,600 108,400 -600 600
Professional and business services 140,600 140,800 139,200 -200 1,400
Education and health services 226,400 227,100 223,600 -700 2,800
Leisure and hospitality 142,900 142,800 131,500 100 11,400
Other services 56,100 56,500 54,600 -400 1,500
Government 260,900 261,100 257,300 -200 3,600
 (above data subject to revision)          
Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
        % Change from
  September August September August September
  2022 2022 2021 2022 2021
Initial claims 5,547 5,529 7,176 0.3% -22.7%
Continued claims          
     Benefit recipients 7,088 9,591 11,673 -26.1% -39.3%
     Weeks paid 20,792 30,930 43,795 -32.8% -52.5%
     Amount paid $9,615,944 $13,314,211 $17,623,448 -27.8% -45.4%