A Tale of Two Job Markets in 2013

Iowa JobWatch — January 2014

Issued Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (January 28, 2014) — Iowa nonfarm jobs dropped in December — the third decline in five months — while the unemployment rate fell to a post-recession low of 4.2 percent, according to information released today by Iowa Workforce Development. Heather Gibney

The nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP), which tracks Iowa job trends, released this statement from Research Associate Heather Gibney: 

“The preliminary December numbers are a setback to Iowa’s job recovery. Depending on potential revisions that we’ll see in mid-March, the first and second halves of 2013 provide distinctly different results for Iowa jobs. The first half of the year produced jobs at a pace of about 2,300 per month, up from the pace of the last two years (1,700 per month). But in the second half of the year, we have seen three months of decline and three months of increases for a net reduction of about 1,100 jobs in that period. 

“So, after two slow-growth years, the state has fallen back to about the pace of 2010, when we were just coming out of the Great Recession. It is important to recognize that during the year we did erase the jobs gap from the start of the recession, and reached a new record high of nonfarm jobs in July. In addition, the unemployment rate at 4.2 percent is at its lowest in the recovery. 

“Still, we would point out Iowa’s jobs deficit when population growth is taken into account. Under that calculation, by the Economic Policy Institute, Iowa needs to add 63,200 jobs to the net gain of 3,600 since the start of the recession to keep up with population growth. If Iowa were to get back on the job growth pace set in the first half of 2013, the state could erase that deficit in less than three years.” 

nonfarm jobs change by month, 2012
Source: Iowa Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Deficit graph
Source: Economic Policy Institute.

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