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Report: Iowa jobless rate dropped to 4.2 percent in January; state adds 3,100 nonfarm jobs


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa's unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in January, from 4.3 percent in December, according to a state report released Tuesday.

The rate is one-fifth of a point below the January 2014 rate of 4.4 percent, Iowa Workforce Development said. It is also below January's national average rate of 5.7 percent, which was down from 5.6 percent in December.

In January, Iowa listed 1,645,000 people as employed, up by 3,000 since December and 28,600 since January 2014. According to the report, there were 1,716,500 people in the state labor force in January, compared with 1,715,600 in December and 1,690,800 in January 2014.

The report also shows Iowa added 3,100 nonfarm jobs from December to January, raising the state's total nonfarm employment to 1,562,200. Iowa's trade, transportation and utilities sector alone gained 2,200 jobs, and professional and business services saw an increase of 1,800 jobs across the state. Education and health services sustained a loss of 1,300 positions, the report said, largely because private education institutions cut labor.

Since January 2014, Iowa has added 24,800 nonfarm jobs, led by the state's construction sector with 6,500 new positions throughout the year. Construction reached an all-time high in employment with 77,500 jobs in December, though the sector shed 900 positions in January. Yearly losses were limited to Iowa's mining, information and other services sectors, accounting for 900 lost jobs since January 2014.

The data show Iowa entered 2015 "on a positive note," said Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townshend in the report.

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