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Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1% in August — a level that was well below the national rate and the number of Iowans who were thrown out of work a year ago during the economic throes of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Iowa’s economy remains resilient despite ongoing ripples from COVID-19,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development director.

Iowa’s jobless rate one year ago was 5.2 percent.

The number of unemployed Iowans increased by 300 in August to 67,900 — still 18,100 lower than the year-ago level of 86,000. The total number of working Iowans decreased by 1,600 to 1,592,200 in August — a figure that was 43,700 higher than one year ago.

According to IWD data, the labor force participation rate declined from 66.9 percent in July to 66.8 percent in August. It was 65.9 percent one year ago.

Also, initial unemployment claims fell to 7,754 in August, compared to 8,362 in July and 23,393 initial claims in August 2022, the agency reported.

IWD officials said Iowa establishments apparently trimmed payrolls in August, shedding 6,500 jobs. The loss followed sharp gains in each of the last two months — totaling 16,100 jobs added — and was reflective of seasonal paring of temporary leisure and hospitality help.

Overall, leisure and hospitality lost the most jobs in August with 4,700 — a decline that was the first since December but smaller than the large gain posted in July of 5,900.

“The drop may be early evidence of establishments’ continuing apprehension to becoming fully staffed, particularly as colder weather draws near,” according to a department news release. “Even with the drop, this sector has added 12,600 jobs in 2021.”

Manufacturing lost 1,600 jobs, mostly within durable goods factories.

Health care and social assistance gained 600 jobs following an increase of 1,100 in July — a sector that IWD noted sector previously had not added jobs since December.

Wholesale trade also gained 600 jobs and has improved by 1,600 jobs over the prior three months.

For the year, Iowa establishments have added 37,400 jobs compared to the same period one year ago — a 2.5 percent increase that was led by 13,700 additional hires in the leisure and hospitality sector, especially among accommodations and food services year over year.

Manufacturing added 8,100 jobs over the past 12 months, with durable goods factories responsible for 4,500 jobs gained, while professional and business services were up 3,800 jobs due primarily to hiring in administrative and support services, the department reported.

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