Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through December 2012)
Iowa JobWatch: Recovery Slows Through 2012
Nonfarm jobs steady — jobless rate holds at four-year low of 4.9 percent

Issued Friday, January 18, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Jan. 18, 2013) — Iowa nonfarm jobs held relatively steady and the Iowa unemployment rate stayed at 4.9 percent in December, Iowa Workforce Development reported today. The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from senior research consultant Colin Gordon about the latest numbers:

“The latest job numbers from Iowa Workforce Development provide the best job-oriented perspective on how the Iowa economy is performing, and on the slow pace of recovery. Iowa appears to have closed out 2012 on a meek note following a robust start to the year. In the first four months of 2012, Iowa showed a monthly average net gain of over 4,100 jobs. The middle of the year showed a net decline, and the December preliminary numbers released today left the final four months about even, with an average 100-job gain per month.

“Taking a long-term look, Iowa businesses created a net of 14,400 new jobs in 2012, or an average of 1,200 a month. That would be the best job growth pace since 2006, but it's well under the pace of that year and much of the 1990s. We remain almost 31,000 behind the start of the recession, and 34,300 down from our nonfarm jobs peak in May 2008. Iowa simply has to do better.”

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

Key Numbers
— Nonfarm jobs rose in December by 300 to 1,494,200, from an downwardly revised 1,493,900 in November.
— Over the last 12 months, nonfarm jobs are up by 14,400, from 1,479,800 in December 2011.
— Nonfarm jobs are 34,300 behind the May 2008 peak of 1,528,500, and 30,700 behind the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
— The unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.9 percent in December, down from 5.6 percent a year earlier.
— Initial unemployment claims were 27,019 in December, up by 41 percent from November, and down 14 percent from December 2011. The number of continuing claims — 37,487 — was up 37 percent for the month and down about 6 percent for the year.

Key Trends
— Iowa averaged a monthly increase of 1,200 jobs over the last 12 months.
— The biggest changes in the month were declines of 1,400 in trade, transportation and utilities and 600 in manufacturing, and increases of 1,400 in construction and 800 in both professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.
— Over the year, manufacturing has posted the largest net gain, up 7,100 from December 2011. The only net decline came in the largest sector: trade, transportation and utilities (down 4,100). All other sectors have posted net gains over the last 12 months.