Jun 24, 2021 - News
Why Iowa's economic recovery is staying sluggish
Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

Iowa is behind in our economic recovery, with new jobs growing at a quarter of the national rate over a seven-month period ending in May, the Register reports.

Why it matters: Iowa's lagging can't be solely blamed on the pandemic. The state relies on shrinking industries like agriculture and manufacturing, which weren't adding many jobs pre-COVID.

  • Yes, this reliance means we see slower growth in comparison to other regions with a different mix. But even then, Iowa's industries grew more slowly than other parts of the country.

By the numbers: Jobs in the U.S. increased by 1.6% from November to May.

  • In Iowa, the number of jobs increased by only .4% during that period.
  • Of note: Iowa's unemployment rate is still 10th lowest in the U.S.

Between the lines: We could be seeing a similar sluggishness to Iowa's slow recovery from the 2008 Great Recession. But we'll have to wait for the rest of the U.S. to start booming again before demands in ag and manufacturing go back up.

Yes, but: More Iowans are seeking jobs than before, the Register reports. Our unemployment rate grew from 3.8% in April to 3.9% in May.

  • While that may seem contradictory, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics only counts people actively seeking work in their unemployment numbers.

What to watch: It's unclear yet if Reynolds' decision to end the $300 unemployment benefits early contributed to a rise in job seekers.


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