Des Moines, IA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Gains Amid National Slowdown

Overview: The Des Moines metropolitan area (Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA) capped off 2023 with continued job growth, adding 200 jobs in December despite national economic headwinds. This positive performance follows three consecutive months of gains, solidifying Des Moines’ position as a relatively resilient job market.


  • Unemployment Rate: Des Moines’ unemployment rate held steady at 3.2% in December, matching the state average and lower than the national rate of 3.7%.
  • Job Growth: Total non-farm employment reached 159,300 jobs, reflecting an increase of 2,100 jobs since November.
  • Goods-Producing Sector Leads: Construction and durable goods manufacturing were the major drivers of job growth, adding 1,400 and 1,100 positions respectively.
  • Private Service Sector Sees Slight Downturn: Private service industries experienced a minor decline of 400 jobs, while government employment also decreased by 100 jobs.
  • Labor Force Participation Dips: The number of individuals actively seeking employment in Des Moines decreased slightly to 67.7%, a 0.4% drop from November.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Construction: Boosted by infrastructure projects and residential construction, the construction industry added a significant 1,400 jobs, the largest sectoral gain.
  • Durable Goods Manufacturing: Continued demand for manufactured goods led to 1,100 new jobs in durable goods factories, particularly in machinery and electrical equipment production.
  • Professional and Business Services: Despite the overall decline in private services, professional and business services remained stable, adding 100 jobs.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare sector continued its steady expansion, adding 200 jobs across various medical professions.

What Industries and Occupations Shrunk:

  • Leisure and Hospitality: The leisure and hospitality industry saw a modest decline of 200 jobs, likely due to seasonal slowdown in tourism and entertainment.
  • Retail Trade: Similar to the national trend, retail trade shed 300 jobs in Des Moines, likely reflecting ongoing shifts in consumer behavior towards online shopping.
  • Financial Activities: The finance and insurance industry experienced a minor loss of 100 jobs, mirroring broader economic uncertainties.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Compared to December 2022, Des Moines added 800 jobs, reflecting a slower pace of growth compared to the robust gains seen in the previous year.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.2% compared to December 2022, indicating a stable labor market.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • December’s job growth of 200 jobs followed November’s gain of 400 jobs, suggesting a slight moderation in the pace of expansion.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 3.2% compared to November 2023, further underlining consistent labor market conditions.

Future Outlook:

The Des Moines job market is expected to maintain its positive trajectory in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace. Continued demand in construction, manufacturing, and healthcare is projected to drive job growth. However, uncertainties in the national economy and potential interest rate hikes could pose challenges later in the year.

10 Growing Occupations in Des Moines (December 2023):

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Software Developers and Software QA Testers
  3. Construction Laborers and Bricklayers
  4. Truck Drivers
  5. General and Operations Managers
  6. Marketing Specialists
  7. Physician Assistants
  8. Physical Therapists
  9. Customer Service Representatives
  10. Accountants and Auditors

10 Companies Hiring Now in Des Moines:

  1. Hy-Vee Grocery Stores
  2. MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center
  3. Principal Financial Group
  4. Wells Fargo Bank
  5. Kwik Star Convenience Stores
  6. John Deere Manufacturing
  7. UnityPoint Health – Trinity
  8. Meredith Corporation
  9. Athene USA
  10. Ruan Transportation