IOWA CITY, Iowa (Nov. 22, 2013) — Iowa nonfarm jobs declined in October for the third straight month while the state’s jobless rate also fell, to 4.6 percent, matching its lowest point of the year. Iowa Workforce Development released two months of numbers today, as the October release was postponed due to the federal government shutdown. The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP) released this statement from Research Associate Heather Gibney:
—Nonfarm jobs decreased by 7,500 in September and 800 in October to 1,524,100, dipping back below the pre-recession payroll job peak (1,528,000) that the state had passed this summer. Nonfarm jobs were 19,800 ahead of where they stood last July.
—Nonfarm jobs are down 800 from the level at the start of the last recession in December 2007.
— The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in October, its lowest point since June and May of this year. It is down from 4.7 percent in September and 5.1 percent a year earlier.
—The labor force — those working or looking for work — rose by 100 from September and was up 28,900 over the year.
—Initial unemployment claims were 12,730 in October, up 45 percent from September and down 4 percent from October 2012. The number of continuing claims — 22,832 — was up 4 percent for the month and down 10 percent for the year.
—Iowa’s average monthly job increase over the last six, 12 and 18 months has been at 1,000 or less. That compares poorly not only to “boom” years but to moderate-growth years.
—Over the year, the biggest gains have been in education and health services (3,900), professional and business services (3,700), and manufacturing (3,500). The largest declines have been in government (4,000) and other services (2,900).
Job Growth Perspective
—Governor Branstad set a goal of 200,000 new jobs over five years. Iowa’s economy has produced 48,200 net new jobs through the first 33 months of his term. To add the remaining 151,800 jobs, Iowa would need to 5,600 new jobs per month over the next 27 months, compared to the 1,500 pace of the first 33 months. Iowa has not sustained growth of even 2,000 jobs per month over a calendar year since the 1990s.