Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through December 2014)
Positive Note Ends Soft Year in Iowa Jobs
45,000 Job Deficit Remains in Iowa's Sluggish Recovery
Iowa JobWatch — January 2015

Issued Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Iowa nonfarm jobs rose in December as the unemployment rate fell from 4.3 percent to 4.1 percent. The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen:

“The small increase in December keeps Iowa’s job picture in a slow-growth mode that has prevailed throughout the recovery from the Great Recession.

“Iowa's economy added a net 2,100 jobs in December — leaving the average monthly job growth in 2014 at about 1,400. That's about 1 percent growth over the year. Iowa’s monthly average growth in 2014 was its lowest in four years. (Monthly averages were 2,500, 1,600 and 1,700 the last three years, and 1,000 in 2010.)

“The unemployment rate has dropped half a percentage point since September, when it stood at 4.6 percent. Both the labor force and the number of Iowans reporting employment have grown in that period.

“While the latest numbers are positive, Iowa’s payroll jobs are short of what is needed to fully recover from the recession. Accounting for population growth, we remain almost 45,000 jobs behind where jobs stood at the start of the recession seven years ago.”

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

Job Growth Perspective
While Iowa nonfarm jobs show a net gain for each of the last five years, and are 35,700 ahead of where they stood at the start of the last recession in 2007, Iowa has a jobs deficit. That is because when 5.3 percent population growth is factored in, Iowa should have added 80,200 jobs over that time span. In that computation, by the Economic Policy Institute, Iowa's job deficit is 44,500.

Key Numbers
Nonfarm jobs rose in December to 1,560,600, from 1,558,500 in November. Nonfarm jobs are 16,400 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent from 4.3 percent in November and 4.5 percent in October. It was 4.2 percent in December 2013.
The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 400 from November to 1,713,900 but was up 38,200 over 12 months.
Initial unemployment claims were 29,285 in December, up 73 percent from November and down about 5 percent over the year. The number of continuing claims — 35,632 — was up 61 percent for the month and 6 percent for the year.
Five major job sectors showed gains and five showed losses in December, with manufacturing at 1,600 and professional and business services at 1,500 leading the gains. Trade, transportation and utilities dropped 1,000 and government dropped 900 during the month.

Key Trends
Nonfarm jobs are 32,600 ahead of the May 2008 peak of 1,528,000, and 35,700 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
Nonfarm jobs have increased in eight of the last nine months.
Manufacturing at 2,600, trade, transportation and utilities at 1,900, leisure and hospitality at 600 and information at 500 have lost more jobs than they have gained over the past 12 months.
Construction jobs are up about 7 percent (4,700) over the 12 months, while the professional and business services, education and health services, government, financial activities and other services sectors also show 12-month net gains.