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Unemployment in Iowa

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Iowa Value:


Percentage of civilian workforce ages 16-64 that is unemployed

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Percentage of civilian workforce ages 16-64 that is unemployed

Unemployment Trends

Percentage of civilian workforce ages 16-64 that is unemployed

Trend: Unemployment in Iowa, United States, 2023 Annual Report

Percentage of civilian workforce ages 16-64 that is unemployed

United States

 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey

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About Unemployment

US Value: 4.3%

Top State(s): North Dakota: 2.2%

Bottom State(s): Nevada: 5.5%

Definition: Percentage of civilian workforce ages 16-64 that is unemployed

Data Source and Years: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2022

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

There is a strong relationship between employment status and mental and physical health. A stable, safe and well-paying job makes it easier for people to live in healthier neighborhoods, access health insurance benefits and afford quality child care, education and nutritious food — all critical factors to maintaining good health that are jeopardized by unemployment. Unemployment is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality, especially among adults ages 18-24. Unemployment may also lead to lower self-esteem, higher levels of depression, straining of family ties and loss of work friends. Furthermore, the effects of job loss are not limited to the individual: Studies have shown there is a profound effect on impacted spouses and children

High unemployment rates increase the economic burden on states due to decreased revenue from income taxes and increased demand for unemployment insurance and social welfare programs. Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many social and economic factors that affect health and well-being, including employment, food sufficiency and housing stability.

Populations with higher unemployment rates include: 

Unemployment insurance or temporary financial help may mitigate the impact unemployment has on self-reported health.

The U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Commerce have collaborated on the Unlocking Career Success initiative, which aims to prepare young students with skills and knowledge necessary for their future careers. It offers a multifaceted approach that includes dual enrollment (the ability to earn college credits while in high school), work-based learning opportunities and career advising. 

Additionally, the Good Jobs Initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor offers guidance on establishing equitable access to quality employment opportunities, devoid of discrimination, for the workforce.

Healthy People 2030 tracks multiple measures related to employment and has an objective to increase the percentage of working-age people who are employed.

Brand, Jennie E. “The Far-Reaching Impact of Job Loss and Unemployment.” Annual Review of Sociology 41, no. 1 (August 14, 2015): 359–75.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Tracking the COVID-19 Economy’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 13, 2020.

Cylus, Jonathan, M. Maria Glymour, and Mauricio Avendano. “Health Effects of Unemployment Benefit Program Generosity.” American Journal of Public Health 105, no. 2 (February 2015): 317–23.

Davila, Evelyn P., Sharon L. Christ, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, David J. Lee, Kristopher L. Arheart, William G. LeBlanc, Kathryn E. McCollister, et al. “Young Adults, Mortality, and Employment.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 52, no. 5 (May 2010): 501–4.

Dooley, David, Jonathan Fielding, and Lennart Levi. “Health and Unemployment.” Annual Review of Public Health 17, no. 1 (January 1996): 449–65.

“How Does Employment—or Unemployment—Affect Health?” Issue Brief. Health Policy Snapshot: Public Health and Prevention. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, March 12, 2013.

Krug, Gerhard, Stefan Brandt, Markus Gamper, André Knabe, and Andreas Klärner. “Unemployment, Social Networks, and Health Inequalities.” In Social Networks and Health Inequalities, edited by Andreas Klärner, Markus Gamper, Sylvia Keim-Klärner, Irene Moor, Holger Von Der Lippe, and Nico Vonneilich, 215–29. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022.

Nikolova, Milena, and Boris N. Nikolaev. “Family Matters: The Effects of Parental Unemployment in Early Childhood and Adolescence on Subjective Well-Being Later in Life.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 181 (May 26, 2018): 312–31.

Roelfs, David J., Eran Shor, Karina W. Davidson, and Joseph E. Schwartz. “Losing Life and Livelihood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Unemployment and All-Cause Mortality.” Social Science & Medicine 72, no. 6 (March 2011): 840–54.

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