DES MOINES — Iowa Workforce Development is reporting something it hasn’t had to report in a long time — the unemployment rate went up in July
IWD Deputy director Ryan West says it was a small increase. “July came in at 2.5, and for the previous 12 months we held pretty strong at 2.4 percent,” West says. West says one side of the numbers slightly outweighed the other in figuring the rate for July.
“It’s an interesting dynamic,” West says, “we actually had more people in the workforce in July, but we also had more people unemployed. And so that was the wash that kind of pushed it up to that 2.5.”
The number of unemployed Iowans increased by 1,400 to 42,800 — while the number of working Iowans increased by 4,000. He says there are a lot of factors involved in seeing some people without a job while there are so many job openings in the state.
“The work is certainly out there — but what dictated or determined those individuals to be unemployed for July is really kinda too hard to pinpoint,” West says. The business sector added jobs in July along with construction.He says that segment added 500 more jobs in July and has seen an increase in each of the last four months. “Traditionally from now until November you’ll see this push to get a lot of this construction done obviously before the winter months hit.”
The financial activities sector saw a loss of 1,800 jobs and has seen loses throughout this year. The workforce report says the information sector continues to adjust to changing technologies and is down 1,400 jobs.
West says it is hard to say if the unemployment level has bottomed out. “Typically when you get into late August, September, October — that is in theory some of our slower months — barring a disaster,” he says. “It will be interesting to see what next month’s numbers pop out for us.”
West says efforts continue to retrain people to fit them into the jobs that are available, as well as getting some workers back into the mix. “I think one of the things we really want to focus on or are trying to focus on — is that underserved population group,” according to West. “We have a lot of folks with disabilities who are looking for employment. We’re trying to really revamp some things we are doing for our returning citizens when they get out of the correctional facilities. And for those individuals who are currently on probation or parole to get them into the workforce.”
The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7% in July.