Dec 7, 2021 - News

The Des Moines metro's "true" unemployment rate

Change in metro area true unemployment rates
Data: Ludwig Institute; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Unemployment in the Des Moines metro area is at the lowest it's been since before the pandemic, according to latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • The metro's 2.8% rate reported in October marks improvement from the steep 12% in April of 2020, right after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Yes, but: One analysis suggests unemployment in the metro is much higher.

How it works: The institute uses BLS figures and factors in those out of work as well as those who are employed but earning less than a living wage.

  • The institute pegs the livable threshold at $20,000, a conservative estimate.
  • To compare, the government's individual poverty level threshold is $12,760.

By the numbers: The Des Moines metro's "true" unemployment increased by 8% between 2019 and 2020.

  • Last year's "true" unemployment rate balloons to 48% when you add in 16 and 17 year-olds and people working part-time but trying to get full-time work.

Of note: This data is for 2020, and 2021 figures won't be available until next fall.

Read the full report.

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