Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through April 2018)
Iowa JobWatch: Bumpy start to 2018 in Iowa jobs
Jobless rate holds at 2.8 percent; 1,300-job drop in payroll jobs in April

Iowa JobWatch — April 2018

Issued Friday, May 18, 2018

IOWA CITY, Iowa (May 18, 2018) — Iowa payroll jobs dropped for the second time in the first four months of 2018 as the unemployment rate held steady at 2.8 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).

“Month by month, Iowa's job performance is pretty choppy, with a dip of 1,300 jobs in April that leaves Iowa a net 500 jobs down through the first four months of 2018. Over the year, jobs are up 10,300 — a weak pace for the economy at only about 900 jobs per month.

“The more important long-term trend shows Iowa's continued, stubbornly slow growth in payroll jobs.

“To put our recent growth in context, Iowa needs 1,500 net new jobs each month for the next three years just to catch the pace of population growth and have jobs where they stood before the last recession started in late 2007 — over 10 years ago.”

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research organization based in Iowa City. Reports are at

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 fell by 1,300 to 1,582,100 in April, 10,300 ahead of April 2017.
• Iowa's unemployment rate remained at 2.8 percent, which compares with 3.3 percent a year earlier.
• Jobs gained in April in only four of the 11 major job categories, all small gains — 400 in government, 300 in leisure and hospitality, 200 in financial activities and 100 in other services.
• The largest declines came in trade, transportation and utilities (1,200), and education and health services (700). Construction and professional and business services showed 200-job drops.
• There was no change in manufacturing, information or mining.

Key Trends
• Over the year, manufacturing has gained the most, 10,100. Smaller gains in financial actitivies (2,900), leisure and hospitality (2,600), and professional and business services (2,000) have helped to offset declining sectors. Government (400) and education and health services (200) showed small increases over the 12 months while information and mining were unchanged.
• Three categories declined over the previous 12 months — trade, transportation and utilities by 3,200, construction by 2,500, and other services by 2,200.

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 100,100 net nonfarm jobs to keep up with 6.6 percent population growth since the December 2007 start of the last recession, but has gained back 56,900. This leaves a jobs deficit of 43,200.