Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through October 2014)
Job Drop in October
Job Deficit in Recovery Stands at 46,000
Iowa JobWatch — November 2014

Issued Friday, November 21, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa nonfarm jobs dipped slightly in October but remained ahead of last year as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent in September. The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen:

“October was not a good month for Iowa, with a net loss in nonfarm jobs for the third time in 2014. Only three job sectors showed gains — and we saw declines in both manufacturing and public-sector jobs, which are two of the four largest job sectors.

“Overall and looking at longer-term trends, the story is familiar: very slow job growth for the state. Over the last 12 months, Iowa is only creating new jobs at a pace of 1,300 per month.

“One area of concern is manufacturing. Traditionally jobs that pay well and offer good benefits, we had over 230,000 manufacturing jobs at the start of the recession. By the end of 2008 we had fallen below 220,000 and we have not recovered. In October, manufacturing stood at 213,700 — its lowest point in 2014, and 2,800 behind the level a year ago.

“Governor Branstad's job goals continue to look unreachable. We only have 40 percent of the 200,000 new jobs he promised — and are almost 70,000 jobs short of what we should have after 45 months.

“This month, by the way, shows why the Governor's job-counting method — ignoring job losses — has nothing to do with what's happening in the Iowa economy. Where he would claim an increase of almost 7,000, actual math shows we lost 200 jobs in October.

“As we have said for some time, a better perspective on job growth is to look at the strength of recovery — and there we are also behind. When you look at our number of jobs in comparison to the start of the recession, and allow for population growth, we are 46,000 jobs behind where we should be at this point.”

The Iowa Policy Project (IPP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research and analysis organization in Iowa City. IPP has issued monthly job reports since 2003. IPP analysis is available at

Iowa Needs Faster Job Growth to Keep Up with Population Growth Jobs Deficit graph

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs decreased in October to 1,556,900. Nonfarm jobs are 15,400 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
• The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent in September. It is up from 4.4 percent in October 2013.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 4,200 from September to 1,711,600 and was up 37,400 over 12 months.
• Initial unemployment claims were 12,761 in October, up 48.6 percent from September and 0.2 percent for the year. The number of continuing claims — 22,266 — was up 12.8 percent for the month and down 2.5 percent for the year.
• Only three sectors posted gains in October, trade and transportation (2,700), education and health (2,600) and construction (1,600).
• These increases were offset by significant losses of 3,200 in leisure and hospitality, a loss of 2,500 in government, and smaller losses in other sectors: 600 in manufacturing, 500 in other services, 200 in financial activities, and 100 in professional and business services.

Key Trends
• Nonfarm jobs are 28,900 ahead of the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 32,000 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
• Nonfarm jobs dropped in October for the third time in 2014 — but the first time in seven months.
• Over the last 12 months, three sectors — manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and information — have lost more jobs than they have gained.
• Construction and government jobs have fared the best over the last 12 months, with construction jobs up 4,600 (6.7 percent) since October 2013, and government jobs up 5,800 (2.3 percent).