CEDAR RAPIDS – The unemployment rate in February was unchanged in Cedar Rapids from the previous month and slightly lower in Iowa City, but the number of employed in each community increased from January.
The Cedar Rapids metropolitan statistical area jobless rate was 6.8 percent last month, unchanged from January but 0.1 percent higher than the 6.9 percent rate recorded in February 2010, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The number of people employed last month increased to 137,900 from 136,700 in January and was 1,400 more than the 136,500 working in February 2010.
The unemployment rate for the Iowa City MSA ticked down to 4.7 percent in February from 4.9 percent in January. The February rate was slightly higher than the 4.6 percent recorded in the same month last year.
The number of people employed in the Iowa City MSA edged up to 87,200 in February from 86,400 in January, but was 300 below the 87,500 recorded in February 2010. Iowa Workforce Development data shows yearly declines recorded in service jobs (400), leisure and hospitality (100), federal government (100) and state government (400).
Iowa’s unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 6.1 percent from January and February 2010, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
The pool of unemployed Iowans increased slightly to 102,200 in February from 101,900 in January. The year ago level of 101,500 was 700 less than the current month’s figure.
The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,578,900 in February, the highest figure recorded since April 2009. Total employment stood at 1,576,500 in January, and 1,565,600 in February 2010.
“The weak recovery that began in the summer of 2009 appears to be stabilizing,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. ”Nonfarm employment has increased steadily since September, a departure from the slow hiring pattern experienced last summer.”
Total nonfarm employment rose to 1,477,100 in February, 3,700 higher than the January estimate, and 12,000 more than one year ago. The February increase marked the second consecutive gain for 2011, and the fourth gain out of the last five months.
Leisure and hospitality led all sectors with a gain of 2,500 jobs in February. Hiring in recreational activities accounted for a large portion of the monthly increases.
Manufacturing added 1,200 jobs with gains posted for both durable and nondurable goods. Other services contributed 700 jobs with the monthly gains in the repair of commercial and industrial machinery and equipment.
Professional and business services edged up by 400, partially due to an increase in accounting and tax preparation services.
Education and health care lost the most jobs of any sector in February, down 700. The decline was primarily due to a drop in health care and social assistance.
Construction, information, and trade and transportation lost 200 jobs each. Government declined by 300, as gains in local government were offset by losses in federal and state government employment.
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