Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: May 16, 2024
Contact: Jesse Dougherty
Telephone: 515-725-5487

Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in April, down from last month’s rate of 2.9 percent and tying the rate from a year ago. The state’s labor force participation rate fell to 66.8 percent, down from 67 percent last month. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in April.

“April’s report shows signs of easing across the Iowa economy, with several industries inching back from huge hiring sprees earlier in the year,” said Beth Townsend, Executive Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Many industries remain at or near historic highs for employment despite Iowa’s aging workforce. Last month was the tenth month during the past year where Iowans voluntarily left the workforce, possibly to retire or go back to school. With IowaWORKS continuing to list more than 56,000 open jobs, we see plenty of opportunities available for those Iowans who want to work.” 

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 47,200 in April from 48,700 in March.

The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,646,900 in April. This figure is 1,300 lower than March and 19,300 lower than one year ago. 

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In April, Iowa’s business establishments trimmed payrolls slightly relative to March (-900), lowering total nonfarm employment to 1,610,800. Hiring in private service and government was eclipsed by layoffs in goods-producing industries, particularly within construction, which eased down in April following a sizable gain in March. Private services received a boost from leisure and hospitality and other services, which advanced by a combined 2,000 jobs. 

Construction shed the most jobs (-3,100) after establishing an all-time high in March. Even when factoring in the April loss, this sector continues to generally trend up and has gained 1,500 jobs compared to last year. Professional and business services lost 600 in administrative support and waste management services. This sector fared well last month, gaining 2,400 jobs since February. Heavy and civil engineering construction was responsible for much of the movement. Finance posted the only other loss in April, paring 300 jobs with losses in both credit intermediation and insurance. Alternatively, leisure and hospitality expanded their payrolls in April (+1,000). Most of those hires were within eating and drinking establishments, although arts, entertainment, and recreation gained 200 jobs. Other services also gained 1,000 and has advanced by 2,500 jobs over the past three months. Trade and transportation advanced by 600 since March with half of all jobs added being in transportation and warehousing.

Over the past 12 months, total nonfarm employment has increased by 22,900 jobs. The largest gain has been in leisure and hospitality (+5,900). Accommodations and food services fueled all the hiring in this sector; arts, entertainment, and recreation has decreased slightly since last year. Education and health care have added 5,300 over the past 12 months. Most of the jobs gained originated from health care and social assistance (+4,500). On the flip side, trade, transportation, and utilities has lost the most jobs (-3,000). Retail trade along with transportation and warehousing have been responsible for the jobs shed over the past 12 months.

Employment and Unemployment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
    Change from
Civilian labor force1,694,1001,696,9001,713,900-2,800-19,800
Unemployment rate2.8%2.9%2.8%-0.10.0
Labor Force Participation Rate66.8%67.0%68.0%-0.2-1.2
U.S. unemployment rate3.9%3.8%3.4%0.10.5
Nonfarm Employment in Iowa, Seasonally Adjusted Data
Total Nonfarm Employment1,610,8001,611,7001,587,900-90022,900
Trade, transportation and utilities309,100308,500312,100600-3,000
Financial activities108,000108,300108,100-300-100
Professional and business services149,900150,500146,100-6003,800
Education and health services238,500238,200233,2003005,300
Leisure and hospitality146,200145,200140,3001,0005,900
Other services57,40056,40055,9001,0001,500
Data above subject to revision     
Unemployment Insurance Claims for Iowa
    % Change from
Initial claims8,1898,7265839-6.2%40.2%
Continued claims     
Benefit recipients16,13321,29514,090-24.2%14.5%
Weeks paid38,93362,94634,839-38.1%11.8%
Amount paid$20,042,169$32,901,693$16,667,625-39.1%20.2%

Visit Iowa Labor Market Information for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

MEDIA ALERT: Local data for April 2024 will be posted to the IWD website on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.  Statewide data for May 2024 will be released on Thursday, June 20, 2024.