Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through June 2014)
Slow but steady growth in Iowa jobs
Iowa JobWatch — July 2014

Issued Friday, July 18, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The latest jobs report from Iowa Workforce Development today showed Iowa nonfarm jobs at a record high in June, as the unemployment rate held at 4.4 percent with more people entering the labor force. The Iowa Policy Project today released the following statement by Executive Director Mike Owen about the latest numbers:

“Stability in Iowa's job market received a boost in June from public-sector jobs. Despite a 4,300-job increase in government jobs, a mixed performance in other sectors combined for a slight decline, leaving Iowa up 3,100 for the month.

“Iowa's overall modest growth of 1,800 jobs per month during the past year is about the same pace of the previous 12 months. At this rate it would take about three years or more for Iowa to completely recover for the losses from the recession, according to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute.”

Job Growth Perspective
Governor Branstad set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over five years. Iowa's economy has produced 73,400 net new jobs through the first 41 months of his term. To add the remaining 126,600 jobs, Iowa would need to add 6,700 new jobs per month over the next 19 months, compared to a pace of 1,800 for the first 41 months.

An approach more relevant to evaluating economic progress is to look at the job numbers in the context of recovery from the last national recession. Iowa is now above pre-recession job levels — but those jobs serve a 4.8 percent larger population, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The net job gain since the December 2007 start of the recession is 24,700 — but 72,800 were needed by now to keep up with population growth. Therefore, the state shows a job deficit of 48,100 jobs.

Jobs Deficit graph
Graph reflects Economic Policy Institute analysis

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs increased in June to 1,549,600 from 1,546,500 in May. Nonfarm jobs are also 22,100 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
• Nonfarm jobs are 21,600 ahead of the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 24,700 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
• The unemployment rate remained at 4.4 percent in June, unchanged from May and down from 4.8 percent a year earlier.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 1,100 from May to 1,699,100, and was up 26,100 over 12 months.
• Initial unemployment claims were 9,148 in June, down 15 percent since May and 16 percent since June 2013. The number of continuing claims — 21,117 — was down 9 percent for the month and 19 percent for the year.
• Six sectors posted gains this month with government (up 4,300), other services (up 900), leisure and hospitality (up 800), trade, transportation and utilities (up 700), construction (up 200), and mining (up 100). Information remained unchanged this month.
• These increases were offset by some losses in education and health (1,700), professional and business services (1,200), financial activities (600), and manufacturing (400).

Key Trends
• All job sectors except information have shown net gains over the last 12 months. Information is down 1,100, or about 4 percent. Among the largest job sectors, government has gained the most jobs over the year, 7,000, or 3 percent. Construction is up 5 percent and leisure and hospitality up 3 percent over the year.
• Iowa averaged a monthly increase of about 1,800 jobs over the last 12 months.
• For a full year, Iowa has remained above the previous job peak of 1,528,000, reached in May 2008, just before jobs began to plummet during the last recession.
• Iowa has shown a net jobs gain in 11 of the last 14 months, including the last three.