Iowa JobWatch — Special Statement
Iowa Jobs Far Short of Governor's Goal
IWD presentation promotes bogus job growth number
Statement by Mike Owen, IPP Executive Director


IOWA CITY, Iowa (Nov. 30, 2015) The Iowa Policy Project today issued a statement from Executive Director Mike Owen regarding job growth claims offered by Iowa Workforce Development in a public budget hearing in Des Moines:

Today, during its budget hearing before Governor Branstad, Iowa Workforce Development promoted a bogus picture of job growth in our state. IWD Director Beth Townsend owes it to the people of Iowa to retract this inaccurate picture.

Without repeating the error promoted in the IWD presentation, we would make two critical observations:

First, the actual number of jobs added in Iowa since January 2011 is 101,700, according to the latest actual data. This is a full accounting of jobs added and jobs lost in all major job sectors tracked through the official Current Employment Statistics, available on the IWD website by copying and pasting this link into your browser: or by clicking here.

Second, it should be no surprise that Iowa's economy has fallen far short of the Governor's ambitious goal of 200,000 new jobs in five years. Iowa jobs have risen at a pace of fewer than 2,000 jobs per month for five years. Monthly job growth would have needed to average 3,300 for the goal to be met.

The stubbornly slow pace of job growth has kept Iowa from full recovery from a recession that ended six years ago, before the Governor took office. While in overall numbers we have gained more jobs than the number lost during the recession, Iowa remains short of the number needed to keep up with population growth. Compared with the start of the recession, we are still nearly 35,000 jobs behind on that measure a far more accurate sense of the condition of the Iowa economy at the end of 2015.

By contrast, the "gross gains" measure added to the IWD monthly nonfarm jobs spreadsheet early in the Branstad administration is a political contrivance. It has nothing to do with the actual state of employment in Iowa, and is plainly bogus math. It is solely about politics, and it has no place in official Iowa Workforce Development spreadsheets or presentations.

For more information about Iowa jobs, we encourage you to visit our website, and review our monthly Iowa Jobwatch for a look at the relevant numbers. Find the latest Iowa JobWatch report at

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Mike OwenMike Owen is the executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project.