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Iowa unemployment rate holds steady, number of jobless up


Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent in May and is down from the year-ago rate of 6 percent.

“The Iowa economy remains on track for modest growth in the coming months,” Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert said in a news release. “Continued improvement, particularly in housing, will strengthen job growth in a broad range of industries.” 

The U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly in May to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April. Iowa’s unemployment rate is seventh-best in the nation.

Iowa’s economy actually shed 3,300 jobs last month. However, the state has gained 13,400 jobs over the last year.

May’s decline in jobs was spread across several sectors and could be a symptom of the economic turmoil in Europe coupled with decreased spending from consumers, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The job loss in May is the second for the current year, and the magnitudes of the declines in 2012 have been smaller than the gains.

Professional and business services decreased by 1,900 jobs in May, the most of any sector. Trade and transportation pared 1,800 jobs. Other losses were in construction, 900, manufacturing, 400, and finance, 200.

Leisure and hospitality led all sectors by adding 1,200 jobs. Health care added 700; information and government each added 200.

For the year, manufacturing has led all sectors in gains, adding 13,400 jobs. Construction followed with an annual gain of 6,100 jobs. Smaller gains were posted for education and health services, 2,000, other services, 1,700, leisure and hospitality, 1,000, and finance, 500.

Trade and transportation lost the most jobs of any sector, 4,200, over the year. Other losses were in government, 2,700, professional and business services, 1,900, and information, 200.

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