Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through May 2013)
Iowa JobWatch: Jobs Grow in May
Now, for the Jobs Deficit — Iowa Down Almost 60,000 as Population Grows

Issued Friday, June 21, 2013


IOWA CITY, Iowa (June 21, 2013) — State officials today reported Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in May from 4.7 percent in April, a significant decrease from the May 2012 rate of 5.3 percent. Total nonfarm employment grew by 5,300 during the month — the largest increase so far this year. The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Research Associate Heather Gibney:

“It’s only one month, but the 5,300 increase in May is substantial and puts the state more than 18,000 jobs ahead of the year before. Since the beginning of the year Iowa’s nonfarm employment numbers have fluctuated significantly in both directions. That fluctuation has been a drag on the steady nonfarm job growth that Iowa needs to fully recover from the last recession and catch up with growth in the state’s population.

“We still have a substantial jobs gap in Iowa that our recent pace is not closing very quickly — though a few months like May would be a big help. Looking at the long-term trends, Iowa’s nonfarm jobs deficit since the start of the last recession in December 2007 was only 1,000 in May. And we were only 4,100 below the May 2008 nonfarm jobs peak.

“At the same time, the population continues to grow — pushing a need for more jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Iowa’s population has increased 3.9 percent since the start of the recession — leaving the state 59,500 jobs short of what is needed to keep up with the population growth.”

nonfarm jobs change by month, 2012
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

nonfarm jobs change by month, 2012
Source: Economic Policy Institute.

Key Numbers
Nonfarm jobs increased 5,300 in May to 1,523,900 from an upward adjusted 1,518,600 in April. Nonfarm jobs are also 18,200 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
Nonfarm jobs are 4,100 behind the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 1,000 behind the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
— The unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in May, down from 5.3 percent a year earlier.
Initial unemployment claims were 13,145 in May, up 12.6 percent since April and 2 percent from April 2012. The number of continuing claims — 31,154 — was down 21 percent for the month and up 7.6 percent for the year.

Key Trends
— Iowa averaged a monthly increase of 1,500 jobs over the last 12 months. — Two sectors posted large gains in May with professional and business services up 3,000 and construction up 2,200. Three other sectors posted smaller gains with trade (1,400), financial (1,000), and information (600).
— Sectors that posted losses during the month were leisure and hospitality (1,000), education and health services (700), other services (500), and manufacturing and government (both 400).
Over the year, manufacturing remains the biggest gainer, up 5,900.