Despite fewer jobs, Iowa unemployment rate down

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Iowa's unemployment rate fell to 3.0% in October compared to 3.6% last year despite fewer jobs than a year ago.

Iowa Workforce Development reports the number of unemployed Iowans fell from 60,800 in October 2016 to 51,000 this October. But the number of working Iowans is also down slightly.

That means the drop in unemployment is almost entirely due to people dropping out of the workforce.

"The decline in the labor force participation rate has given rise to concerns that the post-recession decline in the unemployment rate to below 5 percent may overstate the health of the labor market," a May 2017 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted.

That report said a large part of the decline is due to older workers retiring. However, it said younger Americans are also working at a lower rate from 5 to 10 years ago.

In Iowa, manufacturing jobs constituted the largest growth in employment in October, adding 2,200 jobs from September and 6,000 from a year ago. Education and Health services also added 5,800 jobs from last October.

But construction work saw the biggest decline in employment in Iowa from a year ago, shedding 5,300 jobs in Iowa, despite adding 500 jobs since September.

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