Iowa’s unemployment rate decreased to 3.9% in October, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The national unemployment rate was 4.6%. The number of Iowans categorized as unemployed decreased to 64,700 from 66,200 in September. A total of 1,596,200 Iowans were working in October, 1,600 more than in September. The labor force participation rate was 66.8%, the same as in September. The national rate was 61.6% in October.
The labor force participation rate is the percent of people 16 and older who are working or actively looking for work. Those in this age group, not in the labor force, include retired persons, those on disability, students, and housewives not working outside the home. Unfortunately, there are also some able-bodied people, not in one of those categories, who choose not to work.
Though the number of initial unemployment claims went up in October, from 7,176 in September to 8,304 in October, the total people on unemployment went down from 11,673 in September to 9,435 in October. This means that a number who were on unemployment in September went off in October. The total amount paid went down from $17,623,448 in September to $12,766.521 in October. Many businesses continue to report that they cannot find qualified employees who will come to work.
Of course, we never have 0% unemployment because at any given time some people are changing jobs. Others are laid off as businesses close or move from one place to another. There is likely a lag time between the business laying off people in the original area, and hiring people in the new area.
Economists debate what level of unemployment would be “full employment.” I remember when I was in college, many economists, including my professor, said that an unemployment rate of 5% was “full employment.” I think now we can all see that was wrong.
If you are interested in a job, take a look at IowaWORKS.gov. There are thousands of job openings located all around the state.