Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through March 2015)
Stronger pace in nonfarm jobs
March gives payroll jobs six-month positive string — jobless rate down to 4 percent
Iowa JobWatch — March 2015

Issued Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa nonfarm jobs showed their sixth-straight monthly gain with revised figures for February and a stronger overall performance in March, according to the latest estimates from Iowa Workforce Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent.

The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen:

“Job growth is averaging about 3,000 over the last six months, which is a positive sign and considerably better than the 1,800-1,900 pace of recent years.

“We remain about 36,000 jobs behind where we were at the start of the last recession, if you factor in a growing population and more job demand. But continued growth at the pace we have seen the last few months could help close that gap more quickly than we might have expected.”

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
Governor Branstad set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over five years. Through his first 50 months in office, Iowa’s economy has produced 92,500 net new jobs. To add the remaining 107,500 jobs, Iowa would need to add about 10,800 new jobs per month over the next 10 months, compared to a pace of about 1,900 for the first 50 months.

While Iowa nonfarm jobs show a net gain of 43,200 from the start of the last recession in 2007, Iowa has a jobs deficit. That is because when 5.2 percent population growth is factored in, Iowa needed to add 79,100 jobs over that time span, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Thus, Iowa's job deficit is 35,900.

Key Numbers
• Nonfarm jobs rose in March by 3,300 to 1,568,100. Nonfarm jobs are 26,900 ahead of where they stood a year earlier.
• Nonfarm jobs are 40,100 ahead of the recession-era peak of 1,528,000, reached in May 2008, and 43,200 ahead of the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
• The unemployment rate dipped for the third straight month, to 4.0 percent in March. It was 4.2 percent in January and 4.4 percent in March 2014.
• The labor force — those working or looking for work — dropped by 1,800 from February to 1,716,200 and was up 19,400 over 12 months.
• Six sectors posted gains in March led by education and health services (2,300), trade, transportation and utilities (2,100), with both government and professional and business services posting gains of 500. Smaller gains came in mining and construction.
• Job losses in March included leisure and hospitality (1,100), manufacturing (500) and financial activities (400). Information and other services posted smaller losses.

Key Trends
• Information remains the only declining category over 12 months, down 1,000.
• Revised February figures, combined with the March increase, leave Iowa with six straight monthly gains in nonfarm jobs. Iowa has shown net job increases in 15 of the last 17 months — at a pace of about 2,100 per month.
• Over the year, the strongest percentage gains came in construction (8.7 percent) and professional and business services (3.2 percent).