The State of Working Iowa 2010
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Key Points from The State of Working Iowa 2010

Two-thirds of states, including six other Midwestern states, showed greater percentage losses in nonfarm jobs than Iowa.

Some metropolitan areas saw a sharp rise in unemployment, while others saw more moderate increases that still were sizable.

Many Iowans are "underutilized," a term that includes those underemployed for their qualifications, unemployed, discouraged or working part-time jobs while wanting full-time employment.

Iowa has fared better than most states nationally, as well as better than most Midwestern states. Still, a strong recovery in the job market has yet to get under way in Iowa or elsewhere.
As Recession Effects Bottom Out, Iowans Wait for Recovery
Full report (10-page PDF). 9/6/09
Iowa working families face a better job market than found in many states, but the state's economy is still struggling and far from its pre-recession performance.

"Iowa lost over 50,000 jobs from the start of the recession until the middle of this year," said Noga O'Connor, research associate for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP) and author of The State of Working Iowa 2010. "In addition, the Iowa unemployment rate has spiked from under 4 percent to almost 7 percent.

"When you look carefully at the numbers, you can see most of those losses were done by the middle of last year, so the effects of the recession appear to have bottomed out. Still, we have a long way to go in catching up with where job numbers stood as recently as December 2007."

IPP Executive Director David Osterberg said it was important to note that while Iowa looks better now in comparison to other states on its unemployment rate, which stood at 6.8 percent in July, other states had been expanding faster before the latest downturn.

"Even before the recession, Iowa's job picture was not pretty, showing slow improvements from the previous recession while other parts of the country did better. So Iowa didn't have as far to fall when declines came with the 2007 recession," Osterberg said.

Changing Look of Unemployment in Iowa
Jobless Rate MapsMap at right shows county-by-county average unemployment rates for the first half of 2010 — map at left shows how it looked for the same period of 2007, before the recession

The State of Working Iowa 2010 shows:

  • Thirty-six states, including six other Midwestern states, showed greater percentage losses in nonfarm jobs than Iowa.
  • Some metropolitan areas saw a sharp rise in unemployment, while others saw more moderate increases that still were sizable.
  • Many Iowans are "underutilized," a term that includes those underemployed for their qualifications, unemployed, discouraged or working part-time jobs while wanting full-time employment.

  • "The metropolitan unemployment numbers are interesting; except in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, the unemployment rate averages were about two-thirds higher or more in every metropolitan area in Iowa since 2007," O'Connor said.

    "Across counties, increases in the jobless rate were also large, and not just in the more urban areas. Four out of every five counties in Iowa experienced an increase in the unemployment rate by at least 60 percent."

    O'Connor said the "underutilization" measure applied to almost 12 percent of the Iowa labor force, compared to 7 percent in 2007.

    "While that is a large increase, Iowa ranked 44th among all states in its 2009 underutilization rate, so, as with the unemployment rate, we still appear better off than people in many parts of the country."




    See The State of Working Iowa 2010:
    Full report (10 pages)
    The State of Working Iowa Previous Issues
    The State of Working Iowa 2009
    Full report (28 pages)
    News release
    The State of Working Iowa 2008
    Full report (10 pages)
    News release
    Part 2 Women, Work and the Iowa Economy
    Full report (11 pages)
    News release
    Part 3 Young Workers and the Iowa Economy
    Full report (6 pages)
    News release
    The State of Working Iowa 2007
    Full report (25 pages)
    News release
    No Picnic: A Labor Day 2006 Update on The State of Working Iowa
    Full report (7 pages)
    News release
    The State of Working Iowa 2005
    Full report (30 pages)
    News release
    Working Blues: Labor Day in Iowa, 2004
    Full report (5 pages)
    News release
    The State of Working Iowa 2003
    Full report (63 pages)
    News release
    The State of Working Iowa 2001
    Full report (71 pages)
    Executive Summary