Issued Friday, Sept. 21, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 21, 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:
“Losses and gains in seasonal jobs left Iowa with a general wash in the state employment picture for August, as construction and hospitality industries saw drops and local government added jobs during the month. The 3,400 gain in public-sector jobs offset most of the losses in the private sector, leaving a net loss of 400 nonfarm jobs. Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate rose from 5.3 percent to 5.5 percent — an increase opposite the 0.2-percentage-point drop seen at the national level.
“Manufacturing remains a bright spot for the state, up 8,400 for the year, accounting for almost three-fourths of the overall net gain of 11,600 nonfarm jobs from August 2011 to last month.
“For the long term, Iowa's job performance remains lackluster, but better than recent years. Despite the net loss of 400 nonfarm jobs overall in August, the state is averaging a gain of 1,600 per month through the first two-thirds of 2012. That is close, slightly under, the monthly average in the middle of the last decade, but well off the pace of the stronger gains seen in the 1990s. ”
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
— Nonfarm jobs, after two months of declines, rose in July by 2,300 to 1,492,400, from a downwardly revised 1,490,100 in June. The July gains wiped out a 2,300 drop in June.
— Nonfarm jobs showed little change in August, down by 400 to 1,492,500.
— Over the year, nonfarm jobs are up by 11,600, from 1,480,900 in August 2011.
— Nonfarm jobs remain 36,000 behind the May 2008 peak of 1,528,500, and 32,400 behind the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
— The unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August, up from 5.3 percent from July, but down from 6 percent a year earlier.
— Initial unemployment claims were 12,769 in August, down by 9.5 percent from July, and 3 percent higher than in August 2011. The number of continuing claims — 27,060 — was down 6.4 percent for the month and 15.1 percent for the year.
— Iowa averaged a monthly increase of 1,000 jobs over the last 12 months. The first eight months of the year have shown an average job increase of 1,600 per month.
— Nonfarm jobs are above the year-ago level for the 23rd month in a row, so for almost two years, Iowans have been looking at a more positive job picture than they saw a year earlier.
— Government jobs were up 3,400 for the month and are now up 900 for the year. That was the strongest-performing sector in August, with significant drops in leisure and hospitality (2,100) and construction (1,700).
— Over the year, manufacturing is the biggest gainer, up 8,400 from August 2011 despite a 900-job drop for the month.