Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through August 2019)
Iowa JobWatch: Jobs hold steady in August
Fifth-straight gain is small; monthly average still 200 since start of year

Iowa JobWatch — August 2019

Issued Friday, Sept. 20, 2019

IOWA CITY Iowa (Sept. 20, 2019) — Iowa jobs gained by 300 in August, just ahead of the sluggish 2019 average, while the state's unemployment rate held at 2.5 percent.

Iowa Workforce Development reported a preliminary estimate for August at 1,595,200 payroll or nonfarm jobs, up slightly from the July mark at 1,594,900 and up 12,600 over the last 12 months. However, during the eight 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.

“Iowa's job numbers are staying in the black over the last five months, but the progress remains very slow. The net increase is only about 200 per month over the first eight months of 2019 — not nearly enough to move opportunity forward for Iowa's working families.”

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 jobs rose by 300 jobs to a total of 1,595,200 in August, up from 1,594,900 in July, and 12,600 ahead of August 2018.
• Iowa's unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent, up slightly from 2.4 percent a year earlier.
• Five of the 11 major job categories showed gains in August. The largest increase was in construction at 1,000, followed by financial activities at 800.
• Five categories showed losses in August — the largest 1,600 in education and health services, followed by trade, transportation and utilities at 400. Mining was unchanged.

Key Trends
• Through the first eight months of 2019, nonfarm job growth is averaging 200 per month; through the 12 months since August 2018, nonfarm job growth is averaging 1,100.
• Over the year, manufacturing leads gains at 6,500, followed by "other” services at 2,500, construction at 2,300, and professional and business services at 2,200. Information jobs declined by 1,300 over the year, a decline of nearly 6 percent.

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 69,900, leaving a job deficit of 39,800.