Iowa’s unemployment rate in November rose to 3.3%

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By Iowa Public Radio, O. Kay Henderson

Iowa’s unemployment rate increased to 3.3% in November. That’s the fourth consecutive month it has inched up.

Beth Townsend, director of the Iowa Workforce Development agency, says there were about 1,000 job losses in Iowa’s professional and business services sector in November and about 100 layoffs in the manufacturing sector.

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“We also saw a number of people drop out of the workforce — about 6,700 people between October and November. That was mostly due to retirements and students who willingly left the workforce,” Townsend says. “While we don’t like to see a reduction in our labor force, that number’s not overly concerning at this point.”

Just over 68% of Iowans who are 16 or older and actively seeking employment were working in November, which is about five points higher than the national average.

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The most job growth in November came in Iowa’s construction industry, which added 1,800 jobs, while about 1,000 jobs were added in the financial services sector.

Townsend says 1,100 people were hired in November to work in Iowa hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings, “which is really good news for the health care industry, because as you know they’ve had a difficult time hiring since the pandemic, and they are up over 8,500 jobs over the past 12 months.”

The state’s IowaWORKS website currently lists 62,000 job openings. According to government data, more than 1.67 million people are working in Iowa.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in November.

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