Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through November 2014)
Slow Job Growth in November — and the Year
45,000 Job Deficit in Iowa's Sluggish Recovery
Iowa JobWatch — December 2014

Issued Friday, December 19, 2014

Iowa nonfarm jobs rose slightly in November as the unemployment rate dipped from 4.5 percent to 4.3 percent. The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen:

“The preliminary numbers for November showed growth in Iowa jobs to be slightly ahead of the pace over the last year, but it remains a sluggish pace.

“Iowa's economy added a net 1,800 jobs in November — just ahead of the 1,300 average over the past 12 months. That is only about 1 percent growth over the period, but Iowa jobs have reached a new peak with the latest numbers, at 1,558,700.

“As we look ahead to a new year and a new legislative session, Iowa policy makers may want to examine where we have been struggling, particularly in manufacturing, which is down over 3,000 jobs for the year. Construction jobs dipped slightly during November but the prospect of new infrastructure projects may improve that sector, where growth has been about 5 percent over the last year.

“Finally, a fresh look at Iowa's jobs deficit shows we are about 45,300 short of the number of jobs that Iowa should be filling to keep up with population growth since the start of the last recession. A comparison to that goal provides proper context on the quality of our recovery.”

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

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs rose in November to 1,558,700, from 1,556,900 in October. Nonfarm jobs are 15,700 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
• The unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent from 4.5 percent in October, but remains slightly up from 4.2 percent in November 2013.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 2,300 from October to 1,713,700 and was up 40,800 over 12 months.
• Initial unemployment claims were 16,905 in November, up 33 percent from October and 18 percent over the year. The number of continuing claims — 22,176 — was down for the month and up for the year but the change was less than 1 percent in both cases.
• Leisure and hospitality led gaining sectors with a 2,300 increase for the month, followed by professional and business services at 1,100. The largest decline came in trade, transportation and utilities, at 800, followed by losses of 500 each in construction and government.

Key Trends
• Nonfarm jobs are 30,700 ahead of the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 33,800 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
• Nonfarm jobs have increased in all but three of the last 12 months.
• Manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and information remain the only major job sectors that have lost more jobs than they have gained over the past 12 months.
• Construction jobs are up about 5 percent (3,600) over the 12 months, while the professional and business services, education and health services, and government jobs sectors are up about 2 percent.