Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through March 2017)
Iowa JobWatch: March jobs dip, so does jobless rate
Choppy performance in Iowa jobs over 12 months; March jobless rate at 3.1 percent

Iowa JobWatch — March 2017

Issued Tuesday, April 25, 2017

IOWA CITY, Iowa (April 25, 2017) — March tripped up Iowa’s early-year pace of job growth but the state unemployment rate dipped to 3.1 percent.

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).

“Iowa nonfarm jobs in March fell 500 short of February's record level of 1,581,100.

“Iowa's choppy economic performance has produced net gains in only six of the last 12 months. Prior to that, job growth was slow but better sustained, month to month. While we have seen six monthly declines in the last year, we saw only the same number in the three years combined before that.”

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

Key Numbers
• Iowa nonfarm jobs dipped by 500 to 1,580,600 in March, from an upwardly revised 1,581,100 in February.
• Iowa's unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, down from 3.2 percent in March and from 3.8 percent a year earlier.
• Six of the 11 major job categories showed gains, led by construction jobs (1,100), and education and health services (700). Manufacturing and financial activities each rose by 200, while mining and "other" services showed 100-job gains.
• Leisure and hospitality jobs led declines with 2,000. Smaller declines came in government (500), trade and transportation (200), information (100) and professional and business services (100).

Key Trends
• Iowa nonfarm jobs were up 8,100 over the 12 months from March 2016 to March 2017, or an average of about 700 jobs per month — about 0.5 percent growth.
• Iowa has gained nonfarm jobs in six of the last 12 months.
• Over the year, professional and business services jobs have gained the most (4,400), or about a 3 percent increase. Education and health services (3,500), financial activities (3,100), and trade, transportation and utilities (3,000) have shown the next largest 12-month gains.
• Five categories have shown declines over the last year: manufacturing (3,600), construction (2,000) and information (1,300), with lesser declines in government (700) and leisure and hospitality (300).

Job Growth Perspective
Iowa has a job deficit of 38,200 in comparison with the start of the last recession in December 2007. While the number of jobs has increased, the pace of growth has not kept up with 6.1 percent growth in the population. Using the December 2007 number of 1,525,200 as a baseline, nonfarm jobs have grown by 55,400 — but would have needed net growth of 93,600 over that span to keep up with population, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That leaves a job deficit of 38,200.