Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through August 2014)
Jobs Rise in August, Still Sluggish
Iowa JobWatch — September 2014

Issued Friday, September 19, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa nonfarm jobs increased in August to 1,553,500, but the unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent a year ago. The Iowa Policy Project today released the following statement by research associate Heather Gibney about the latest numbers:

“The month of August saw a very small increase in total nonfarm jobs, which is right in line with the fact that Iowa’s major job sectors lost about the same amount of jobs that were gained. Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality saw the largest gains while construction experienced the biggest loss.”

“It’s also important to look at long-term trends rather than one-month changes. Iowa is now above pre-recession job levels — but those jobs serve a 4.9 percent larger population, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The net job gain since the December 2007 start of the recession is only 28,600 — but 75,400 jobs were needed by now to keep up with population growth. Therefore, the state shows a job deficit of 46,800 jobs.” (Graph below)

Job Growth Perspective
Governor Branstad set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over five years. Iowa’s economy has produced 77,300 net new jobs through the first 43 months of his term. To add the remaining 122,700 jobs, Iowa would need to add 7,200 new jobs per month over the next 18 months, compared to a pace of 1,800 for the first 43 months.

Slow Pace of Recovery from Recession Jobs Deficit graph

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs held steady in August at 1,553,500, slightly higher than an upwardly revised 1,553,300 the month before. Nonfarm jobs are 18,000 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
• Nonfarm jobs are 25,500 ahead of the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 28,600 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
• The unemployment rate remained at to 4.5 percent in August, but down from 4.7 percent a year earlier.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 2,400 from July to 1,703,000 and was up 29,800 over 12 months.
• Initial unemployment claims were 11,445 in August, down 11 percent from July and 5 percent from a year earlier. The number of continuing claims — 23,053 — was 7 percent for the month and 8 percent for the year.
• Five sectors posted gains in August led by professional and business services and leisure and hospitality (1,200), trade, transportation and utilities (500), financial activities (300) and mining (100).
• These increases were offset by losses in construction (1,100), education and health services and government (600), manufacturing (500), other services (200) and information (100).

Key Trends
• All job sectors have shown net gains over 12 months except information (down 600) and manufacturing (no change). Construction jobs are up 3.2 percent over the year, with changes in other major categories up by less than 2.4 percent over 12 months.
• Iowa averaged a monthly increase of about 1,500 jobs over the last 12 months.
• For 14 months, Iowa has remained above the previous job peak of 1,528,000, reached in May 2008, just before jobs began to plummet during the last recession.