Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through January 2014)
Better 2013 but Rocky Start to 2014
Iowa JobWatch — March 2014

Issued Monday, March 17, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (March 17, 2014) — Annual revisions in state job numbers paint a slightly better picture for Iowa than offered at the end of 2013, despite a January drop of 7,300 payroll jobs and a bump in the unemployment rate to 4.3 percent. Heather Gibney

The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project, which tracks job numbers, released this statement from Research Associate Heather Gibney:

“The unemployment rate increase — from 4.2 percent in December — in part reflects more people in the work force, and remains well below the 5 percent figure of a year ago.

“The revised figures show Iowa with almost 16,000 more jobs than reported earlier at the end of December, though there was a drop of 7,300 in January. As always, we look at longer trends and have to recognize that individual monthly results might be revised. And those trends indicate stronger job growth in 2013 — about 2,500 per month on average — than we saw in the previous three years coming out of the recession.

“That kind of pace is closer to what we saw in the 1990s, so it is a hopeful sign, if the performance in January was an aberration and is not repeated.”

Gibney also noted the numbers do not indicate trends in income or job quality.

“Not all jobs are created equal,” she said.

nonfarm jobs change by month, 2012
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key Numbers
— Nonfarm jobs decreased by 7,300 in January to 1,536,900.
— Nonfarm jobs were 19,500 ahead of where they stood last January.
— The unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in January, up from 4.2 percent in December and down from 5.0 percent a year earlier.
— The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 2,100 from December and was up 9,800 over 12 months.
— Initial unemployment claims were 20,016 in January, down 35 percent from a month before and 11 percent from January 2013. The number of continuing claims — 52,269 — was up 55 percent for the month and down 4 percent from January 2013.

Key Trends
— From December to January only three sectors posted gains — professional and business services (1,600), financial activities (900) and “other” services (100).
— Trade, transportation and utilities posted the largest loss in January with 5,600 lost jobs, while construction was down 2,600. Six sectors showed one-month declines: trade, transportation and utilities down 5,600, construction down 2,600, and four sectors with declines under 1,000. Information and mining showed no change.
— Over the year, the top gainer was manufacturing at 4,100, with education and health services up 4,000 and professional and business services up 3,900. Government was up 2,900, leisure and hospitality up 2,300 and trade and transportation up 2,000. All other changes were within 1,000 of the year-ago number.
— The average monthly increase in nonfarm jobs over the last 12 months has been 1,600 jobs per month.
— Iowa is now 8,900 jobs ahead of the May 2008 nonfarm jobs peak.
— Since January 2013 Iowa saw an increase of 19,500 nonfarm jobs.

Job Growth Perspective
Governor Branstad set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over five years. Iowa's economy has produced 60,700 net new jobs through the first 36 months of his term. To add the remaining 139,300 jobs, Iowa would need to add about 5,800 new jobs per month over the next 24 months, compared to the 1,700 pace of the first 36 months.