Iowa JobWatch — Latest Numbers (through July 2019)
Iowa JobWatch: July jobs report affirms slow 2019 growth
Fourth-straight gain, but monthly average is 200 since start of year

Iowa JobWatch — July 2019

Issued Friday, August 16, 2019

IOWA CITY Iowa (Aug. 16, 2019) — Iowa jobs gained enough in July to stay ahead despite a sharp downward revision in previous job estimates, while the state's unemployment rate ticked up to 2.5 percent.

Last month, Iowa Workforce Development reported a preliminary estimate for June of a 5,600-job gain. The latest report, issued today, reduced that June increase to 3,800, with a 1,800 gain in July to put jobs at 1,594,900. The unemployment rate edged up from 2.4 percent.

The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from executive director Mike Owen about the latest job numbers released today by Iowa Workforce Development.

“It is good to see a fourth-straight month of job growth, because the first quarter, with big drops in February and March, put the state in a hole. The more recent hiring has resulted in a 10,200 net increase over 12 months.

“Job growth is very slow — 200 per month on average through the first seven months of 2019, and 900 on average over the last 12 months. For comparison, nonfarm or payroll job growth in Iowa averaged 1,200 in 2018, which compared poorly to 1,600-1,800 monthly averages for the years 2011 through 2014.

“The revision from June reinforces our caution against making too much of one-month changes in the job numbers, as long-term trends offer a more accurate and more relevant picture in understanding what is happening in the Iowa economy.”

nonfarm jobs by month
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 1,800 to a total of 1,594,900 in July, 10,200 ahead of July 2018.
• Iowa's unemployment rate edged up to 2.5 percent from at its 18-year low of 2.4 percent both the previous month and in July 2018.
• Six of the 11 major job categories showed gains in July. The largest increase was in professional and business services at 1,400, followed by leisure and hospitality at 1,100.
• Four categories showed losses in July — the largest 1,000 in financial activities, followed by 700 in manufacturing. Mining was unchanged.

Key Trends
• Through the first seven months of 2019, nonfarm job growth is averaging 200 per month; through the 12 months since July 2018, nonfarm job growth is averaging 900.
• Over the year, manufacturing leads gains at 6,100, followed by education and health services, 2,500, and "other" services, 2,400. Leisure and hospitality jobs gained by 1,200 over the year, and construction jobs gained 1,000.
• Three categories declined over the previous 12 months with the largest losses coming in financial activities, 1,800; information, 1,400; and trade, transportation and utilities, 1,000.

Job Growth Perspective
Iowa remains well off the pace of job growth needed for full recovery from the last recession, which ended in June 2009. Analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows Iowa needed a net increase of 108,800 jobs since December 2007, the start of that recession, to keep up with the population growth of 7.1 percent since that time. Jobs have grown only by 69,600, leaving a job deficit of 39,200.