Iowa unemployment rate improves to 3.7%, ranks 19th in US

DES MOINES — The unemployment rate in Iowa fell slightly to 3.7% in November from 3.9% in October as jobs were added in food service, professional and business services, health care and construction.

A strike at major employer John Deere affected unemployment statistics for the month, but workers approved a third contract offer on Nov. 17 and returned to work.

Iowa Workforce Development officials said manufacturing shed 5,500 jobs in November during the labor disruptions but it was a temporary reduction and manufacturing job totals are expected to return to normal for December.

The total number of working Iowans increased to nearly 1.6 million in November, about 3,100 workers higher than October and 38,400 higher than one year ago.

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 61,600 in November from 64,800 in October.

The Iowa unemployment rate of 3.7% ranks the state 19th in the nation along with South Carolina and Wyoming. Nebraska had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate a 1.8% and California the highest at 6.9%.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in November.

“Iowa companies showed more comfort with increasing their staffing levels, and they found plenty of Iowans ready to launch new careers,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development.