Iowa’s unemployment rate increased slightly in August by a tenth of a percent, despite strong hiring that brought the state to within 5,500 jobs of its March 2020 pre-pandemic employment level.
The increase to 2.6% from 2.5% unemployment in July was accompanied by 1,300 Iowans leaving the workforce. The largest single reason for leaving the labor force, according to participants in a survey of households, was a desire to attend school.
Meanwhile a separate survey of employers found that Iowa businesses added 3,800 jobs in August, led by major gains in retail trade and leisure and hospitality. August marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase in jobs. Compared to a year ago, the state now has 55,000 more employed residents, 27,000 fewer unemployed and a labor force that is 27,800 workers stronger than in August of 2021. Initial unemployment claims also remain near historic lows.