Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through September 2012)
Iowa JobWatch: Public job losses hit Iowa performance
Nonfarm jobs fall by 4,200; jobless rate also drops, to 5.2 Percent

Issued Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Oct. 19, 2012) — Iowa Workforce Development today reported that the state unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent in September from 5.5 percent in August and 5.9 percent in September 2011. Nonfarm jobs declined by 4,200 during the month, while remaining 11,500 up over the previous 12 months. The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from executive director David Osterberg about the latest numbers:

"Before anyone gets too excited about the drop in the unemployment rate, we need to keep an eye on the payroll job numbers. They dropped by 4,200 in September, part of a choppy performance over the last year — seven months up, five months down, with no more than two consecutive months in the same direction. The biggest hit to job numbers came in government jobs, a loss of 3,900 for the month, which once again illustrates the impact of public employment on the state economy. One in every six Iowa jobs is with local, state or federal government, providing services to all Iowans and putting money to work in the state and local economy.

“During 2012, the overall monthly average pace is a gain of 1,100 jobs per month. That's better than we saw in any of the last five years, but make no mistake, it is slow growth especially when compared to what were considered 'boom' years in the 1990s.

“The long-term trend remains positive. For September 2012, jobs were 11,500 ahead of the previous September.”

nonfarm jobs average 1991-2012
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key Numbers
— Nonfarm jobs, after two months of increases, declined in September by 4,200 to 1,489,600, from an upwardly revised 1,493,800 in August.
— Over the year, nonfarm jobs are up by 11,500, from 1,478,100 in September 2011.
— Nonfarm jobs are almost 39,000 behind the May 2008 peak of 1,528,500, and about 35,000 behind the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
— The unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in September, down from 5.5 percent from August and 5.9 percent percent a year earlier.
— Initial unemployment claims were 9,275 in September, down by 27 percent from August, and 23 percent from September 2011. The number of continuing claims — 23,475 — was down 13 percent for the month and 16 percent for the year.

Key Trends
— Iowa averaged a monthly increase of 1,000 jobs over the last 12 months. The first nine months of the year have shown an average job increase of 1,100 per month.
— Nonfarm jobs are above the year-ago level for the 24th month in a row. This means that for two years, Iowans have been looking each month at a more positive job picture than they saw a year earlier.
— Government jobs were down 3,900 for the month and are up 500 over the last 12 months, but down 2,100 over two years. The drop was the largest of any sector in September, followed by leisure and hospitality (2,100). The largest increase came in construction, up 2,200 in September and 1,800 over the year.
— Over the year, manufacturing remains the biggest gainer, up 7,700 from September 2011 despite a 600-job drop for the month. Financial activities jobs are up 2,800 over the year.