Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through September 2019)
Iowa JobWatch: Jobs dip in September
Jobs drop is first after five gains; monthly average gain only 200 in 2019

Iowa JobWatch — September 2019

Issued Monday, Oct. 21, 2019

IOWA CITY Iowa (Oct. 21, 2019) — Iowa jobs dropped by 400 in September, holding Iowa's sluggish 2019 average at plus-200 a month, while the state's unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent.

Iowa Workforce Development reported a preliminary estimate for September at 1,595,200 payroll or nonfarm jobs, down slightly from the August number of 1,595,600 and up 12,700 (just over 1,000 per month) over the last 12 months. However, during the nine months of 2019, the net increase is only about 200 per month.

The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from executive director Mike Owen about the latest job numbers released today by Iowa Workforce Development.

“It would be a mistake to focus heavily on a one-month decline, but the trends are not strong. Iowa simply needs to do better than the 200-job per month gain we have seen in 2019 for Iowa's working families to get ahead.”

nonfarm jobs by month
The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Iowa City that has been tracking Iowa job issues since its founding in 2001. Find reports at

Key Numbers
Iowa nonfarm payrolls fell by 400 jobs to a total of 1,595,200 in September, from 1,595,600 in August, and 12,700 ahead of September 2018.
Iowa's unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent, up slightly from 2.4 percent a year earlier.
Four of the 11 major job categories showed gains in September. The largest increase was financial activities at 900, followed by construction at 800.
Five categories showed losses in the month — the largest 1,200 in government, with leisure and hospitality jobs falling 700. Mining and information were both unchanged.

Key Trends
Through the first nine months of 2019, nonfarm job growth is averaging 200 per month; through the 12 months since September 2018, nonfarm job growth is averaging 1,100.
Over the year, manufacturing leads gains at 4,800, followed by construction at 3,300. Only information jobs, down 1,300 over the year, and mining, down 100, have shown declines. The four largest job sectors have shown less than 1 percent change, except for the 2.1 percent gain in manufacturing.

Job Growth Perspective
Iowa remains well off the pace of job growth needed for full recovery from the last recession, which ended in June 2009. Analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows Iowa needed a net increase of 109,700 jobs since December 2007, the start of that recession, to keep up with the population growth of 7.2 percent since that time. Jobs have grown only by 70,300, leaving a job deficit of 39,400.