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Ranks of the unemployed continue to swell


Iowa’s unemployment rate nudged upward again in August to 6.8 percent, with the number of people who have lost their jobs in the past year swelling by 43,900 to 114,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.

The unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in July and 4.2 percent in August 2008.

“Iowa’s payroll losses moderated substantially in August, a sign that the most severe part of the decline is behind us,” Elisabeth Buck, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in a news release. “However, the state’s unemployment rate is likely to remain high into 2010, despite an optimistic forecast of improving economic conditions in the second half of this year.”

Manufacturing added 3,200 jobs last month as workers returned from seasonal layoffs, but for the year has lost 28,000, Workforce Development said.

Compared with last year, the education and health-care services category has advanced the most, adding 1,900 jobs, followed by trade and transportation, up 800.

Professional and business services and other services posted the largest decreases in August, down 1,300 and 1,100, respectively. Construction shed another 900 jobs despite signs that building starts and home sales have been improving in recent months.

For the year to date, professional and business services employment is down 10,700, and construction is down 9,300.

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