Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 2.6 percent in June – down from 2.7 percent in May and back to its pre-pandemic level, according to a state release Thursday.

Iowa establishments added 5,100 jobs in June as the Labor Force Participation Rate also increased to 67.8 percent, up from 67.6 percent last month. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in June; Illinois’ statewide jobless rate was 4.5% in June.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,665,500 in June – a figure 8,200 higher than May and 57,900 higher than one year ago. The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 43,900 in June from 46,800 in May.

The Iowa statewide unemployment rate dropped to 2.6 percent in June.

“Iowa’s continued unemployment rate decline is proof yet again that our state’s efforts to focus on reemployment are successful and that our state is resilient and strong,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in Thursday’s release. “We’ve created an environment where employers want to hire and move past the challenges of the past two years, and where more employable Iowans are eagerly joining the workforce. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and I’m optimistic about the future of Iowa’s workforce.”

“The progress in June speaks for itself. Iowa has reached an important milestone by returning to an unemployment level not seen since before the pandemic,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “The efforts to bring Iowans back into the workforce with promising new careers is paying off, but we’re not done yet. We remain focused on removing barriers and helping to fill the 89,000 open jobs across the state.”

Leisure and hospitality added the most private sector jobs in June (+2,000), resulting from accommodations and food service industry hires heavily influenced by seasonal gains in recreational camps. Arts, entertainment, and recreational industries scaled back in June following gains in each of the prior two months.

Manufacturing added 700 jobs with hiring being nearly split between durable and nondurable goods factories. Manufacturing has now added jobs in seven consecutive months with 11,700 jobs gained during that span. All other jobs gains were relatively small and included other services (+300) and construction (+200). Sector losses were highest in information services (-400) followed by professional and business services (-200), financial activities (-100) and natural resources and mining (-100).

Over the past 12 months, leisure and hospitality added the most jobs (+15,100), mostly from within accommodations and food services (+14,000). Manufacturing continues to bolster payrolls and now rests 8,300 jobs higher than June 2021.

Illinois rate drops to lowest level since March 2020

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Quad Cities metro area had an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in May 2022.

The state announced today (Thursday) that the unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5%, the lowest the rate has been since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by +18,800 in June, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES.

In June, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment included: Leisure and Hospitality (+9,900), Professional and Business Services (+3,100), Construction (+2,000) and Educational and Health Services (+2,000). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines included: Financial Activities (-1,700) and Other Services (-800).

“With the statewide unemployment rate at its lowest since the onset of the pandemic, the data released today is a further reflection of continued economic recovery and evidence of a strengthening Illinois labor market,” Deputy Governor Andy Manar said in a Thursday release. “As continued claims volumes reach record lows, the Pritzker Administration and IDES, working with local partners, are committed to providing employment and training resources to ensure a competitive labor force while assisting employers in finding versatile workers.”