Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through July 2017)
Iowa JobWatch: Revision tempers Iowa job estimates
Jobless rate remains 3.2 percent; third straight monthly increase in payroll jobs

Iowa JobWatch — July 2017

Issued Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Aug. 22, 2017) — A sharp downward revision in June job numbers is part of the latest release from Iowa Workforce Development about Iowa's job picture, which showed a three-month improvement and unemployment stable at 3.2 percent.

The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen about the latest seasonally adjusted jobs data from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“Substantial revisions to the official estimates of a record job increase in June bring Iowa's job picture closer into focus with recent experience. Still, they show growth in recent months and that is always welcome.

“The big change for June — an estimate 5,100 below the 11,200 previously reported — is one reason to look more at longer-term trends and to guard against too much emphasis on one-month changes, which are subject to revision as more information becomes available.

“The revision should not distract from the big improvement in June, because a 6,100 increase for one month is impressive. What we need, however, is sustained growth at a faster pace than what we have seen. If you look at the July to July numbers for the last seven years, the average job change per month is a net increase of about 1,400. If you restrict that to the last three years, it's about 1,100 per month. So our pace has slowed.”

The graph above illustrates month-by-month job growth over three years. The beige shadow? behind the blue bars shows the average monthly job growth for each of the three 12-month periods.

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Iowa City that has been tracking Iowa job issues since its founding in 2001. Find reports at

Key Numbers
Iowa nonfarm jobs rose by 1,600 to 1,588,300 in July, 15,900 ahead of July 2016.
The increase compares with an increase in June of 6,100, significantly revised from the 11,200 reported previously.
Iowa's unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, steady from June and down from 3.7 percent a year earlier.
Jobs gained in five of the 11 major job categories, most in manufacturing (1,800), trade, transportation and utilities (1,600) and leisure and hospitality (1,200), with small gains in education and health services (600) and information (200).
Declines came in construction (2,300), "other" services (600), government (500) and professional and business services (400). There was no change in mining or financial activities.

Key Trends
Iowa nonfarm jobs were up 15,900 over the 12 months from July 2016 to July 2017, or an average of about 1,300 jobs per month.
Over the year, education and health services jobs have gained the most (7,100), followed by financial activities (4,300), trade, transportation and utilities (3,700), and leisure and hospitality (3,400).
Three categories declined over the previous 12 months — construction by 4,400, government by 2,400, and information by 1,200.

Job Growth Perspective
Iowa still has not recovered from the Great Recession when accounting for population growth. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Iowa would have had to gain 97,100 net nonfarm jobs to keep up with 6.4 percent population growth since the December 2007 start of the recession, but has gained back 63,100. This leaves a jobs deficit of 34,000.