DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.4 percent in May. The state’s jobless rate was 2.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 percent in May.

“I have run out of superlatives to describe our consistently low unemployment rate, but we continue to surpass all expectations. We have increased the number of Iowans in the workforce by 3,200 in May alone and by over 31,000 since last May,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Employers continue to face the challenge of finding a skilled workforce and Iowa Workforce Development can help with that process. As Future Ready Iowa is fully implemented, our skilled workforce should grow consistently through training and education opportunities in high-demand fields across the state.”

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 40,700 in May from 40,300 in April. The current estimate is 2,700 lower than the year ago level of 43,400.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,673,400 in May. This figure was 3,200 higher than April and 31,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In May, Iowa businesses added 1,100 jobs to their payrolls. This is the second consecutive monthly gain for the state following a weak first quarter that saw declines in several sectors. Advancements this month were relatively small and were led by private service industries (+1,100), although goods-producing sectors advanced slightly as well (+500). Government decreased (-500) with small losses in local government. Overall, government continues to trail last year’s mark and is down 1,200 jobs versus last May while the state remains up 6,300 jobs.

Monthly job gains in May were relatively light and led by financial activities (+700). This sector had previously pared jobs in the last two months and has shown little overall trend over the past twelve months resulting in just 200 jobs added since last May. Education services added 600 jobs. This was the first increase since a slight gain of 100 jobs in February. Construction also advanced by 600 jobs in May and follows a larger-than-expected seasonal gain in April. Much of the construction increase stemmed from heavy and civil engineering construction projects beginning this spring. All other gains this month were fairly small and included professional and business services (+500) and other services (+400). Losses this month were led by trade, transportation, and utilities (-700) and were rooted within the retail sector (-1,000). Food and beverage stores contracted this month and have shown signs of steadily paring down staffing levels over the past four months. Other decreases this month included information (-300), manufacturing (-200), and leisure and hospitality (-100).