Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through October 2011)
Iowa JobWatch: Jobs Up as Rate Remains Stable
Nonfarm Jobs on Slow Pace; Unemployment Stays at 6 Percent

Issued Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project put out the following statement today from Research Associate Noga O'Connor following the release of Iowa job numbers for October by Iowa Workforce Development:

“Iowa continues to struggle in recovery from the last recession. Through the first 10 months of the year, we are only gaining, on average, 1,500 jobs per month. The Governor has set a much higher goal than that and rightly so. We remain almost 44,000 behind where we were at Iowa's jobs peak about 3 1/2 years ago.

“The good news is that we are now below 100,000 unemployed. Looking at the last 12 months, however, employment is down by 11,300, far more than the 4,100 decline in unemployment for the year, and there are 15,300 fewer Iowans in the workforce than there were in October 2010. This means that while there are fewer unemployed Iowans looking for work than there were a year ago, a much larger portion of the working-age population has given up on the labor market altogether.

“In addition, it is noteworthy that the payroll survey is showing a continuing loss of government jobs, a largely self-inflicted wound in the economy. When we lose 3,000 jobs over the year, we also lose services and we lose the contribution of those government employees to their local economy. That affects other job sectors as well. If we keep cutting budgets, it will get worse and slow recovery even further.”

nonfarm jobs average 1991-2011 Note 2011 average covers 10 months.
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key Numbers
Payroll (or nonfarm) jobs in October stood at 1,484,400, up 2,300 from a September figure of 1,482,100 and up 13,200 from the October 2010 level of 1,471,200.
Iowa nonfarm jobs stood 43,800 below their peak in May 2008 (1,528,200).
Iowa's unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in October, the same as in September and down from 6.2 percent a year earlier.
The labor force fell by 3,800 from September, to 1,657,200 people working or looking for work, and was 15,300 down from a year earlier.

Key Trends
Nonfarm jobs in Iowa are averaging an increase of only 1,500 jobs through the first 10 months of the year, still better than in the last five years, but a pace that has slipped toward mediocrity after a strong start to 2011.
Nonfarm jobs are above year-ago level for 13th month in row.
The biggest gains for the month were in construction and manufacturing, 1,300 each, and education and health services, 1,100. Declining categories included leisure and hospitality (900), financial activities (700) and government (600). Over the year, manufacturing has improved by 6,800, trade, transportation and utilities by 4,500 and education and health services by 4,500. Financial activities (3,500) and government (3,000) have posted the largest over-the-year declines.
Initial unemployment claims are relatively stable from September and down almost 23 percent from October 2010.