Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through February 2016)
Iowa JobWatch: Good start to 2017 on jobs
Three straight months of job growth; jobless rate at 3.2 percent

Iowa JobWatch — February 2017

Issued Friday, March 24, 2017

IOWA CITY, Iowa (March 24, 2016) — Iowa kicked off 2017 with a stepped up pace of job growth, ending February with a 3.2 percent unemployment rate.

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 (BLS).

“January and February were strong months for Iowa jobs in terms of overall nonfarm job numbers, rising by 5,600 and 3,000, respectively. Iowa has not seen sustained growth like that anytime in the last decade-plus.

“As we have noted before, 2016 was a bleak year for job growth in the state, dropping to a very weak average of about 500 net new jobs per month, well below the previous six years. We can all hope for more months like January and February to put Iowa jobs back on track.”

Key Numbers
• Iowa nonfarm jobs rose to a record high of 1,580,400 in February, up 3,000 from a significantly revised 1,577,400 in January. The January boost of 5,600 was pared back from a 9,900-job increase originally reported by IWD and BLS.
• Iowa's unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, down from 3.4 percent in January, and from 3.8 percent a year earlier.
• Five of the 11 major job categories showed gains, with education and health services rising 1,800 jobs, construction by 1,600 and professional and business services by 1,000. Trade and transporation rose by 400 and financial activities by 200.
• Leisure and hospitality jobs led declines with 900. Smaller declines came in government (500), information (400), and manufacturing (200). Mining and "other" services showed no change.

Key Trends
• Iowa nonfarm jobs were up 10,900 over the 12 months from February 2016 to February 2017, or an average of about 900 jobs per month — about 0.7 percent growth.
• Iowa has gained nonfarm jobs in seven of the last 12 months, including the last three.
• Over the year, professional and business services jobs have gained the most (4,200), or about a 3 percent increase. Financial activities (3,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (2,400) have shown the next largest 12-month gains.
• Two categories have shown declines over the last year: manufacturing (4,000) and information (1,400).

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