Issued Friday, June 15, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa (June 15, 2012) The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released this statement from Executive Director David Osterberg regarding the latest Iowa jobs numbers, reported today by Iowa Workforce Development:
Exactly four years from the highest point of Iowa jobs, the May numbers illustrate how the state's choppy recovery has held down job growth.
The graph at right shows how nonfarm jobs have changed each month over the past year. Iowa has seen some strong months, but five months of declines are interspersed through the period.
Through the first five months of 2012 Iowa is averaging a gain of 2,400 a month. At that pace, it would take 15 months to make up the remaining ground lost since Iowa reached that peak jobs number in May 2008. As the bottom graph shows, Iowa's current job pace through five months of 2012 is stronger than we have seen for any full year in the past decade.
As Iowa Workforce Development noted, job declines in the month came across several categories, and one likely reason is decreased spending by consumers. This reinforces a point we have stressed, that public policy must not discourage spending, which is what happens when the public sector cuts back.
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nonfarm jobs dropped in May by 3,300, to 1,492,400, from a downwardly revised 1,495,700 in April; May 2012 jobs were up 13,400 from May 2011.
Nonfarm jobs are 36,000 behind the May 2008 peak of 1,528,400, and 32,800 behind the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in May, unchanged from April, but down from 6 percent a year earlier.
The labor force, those working or looking for work, dipped by 300 for the month but was up 700 over the year.
Initial unemployment claims were up in May by 15 percent, to 12,882 from April, but down 5 percent over the year.
Iowa averaged a monthly increase of 1,100 jobs over the last 12 months. For comparison purposes, that was the average monthly gain for Iowa in 2007, after three straight years closer to 2,000. In the first five months of the year, on average, jobs have gained by 2,400 per month.
Nonfarm jobs are above the year-ago level for the 20th month in row.
Professional and business services (1,900 down) and trade, transportation and utilities (1,800) led declines in May, and also have declined over the past year, by 1,900 and 4,200, respectively. Government jobs are down 2,700 for the year, the other significant decline for that period.
Leisure and hospitality gained by 1,200 over the month, with small gains in education and health services (300), information and government (200 each). For the year, manufacturing has gained by 10,900 and construction is up by 6,100.