Iowa’s economic picture dimmed, slightly, in the past month but the economy is still growing, according to Creighton University’s monthly survey of business leaders and supply managers. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says the figures are down a bit, but he says Iowa’s economy is clearly still in the “growth positive” category. Goss says the latest survey points to “good solid growth” in the months ahead, with strong growth indicated in categories including durable goods and non-durable goods. Despite his predictions for growth, Goss says he does not expect big job boosts for Iowa, only modest growth. He says the employment prospects are good but not as strong as one might expect. Goss says there’s good productivity growth in Iowa but companies are finding they can raise sales and output without significantly raising their labor force, causing some weakness in the labor market. He says companies with strong connections to the farm sector are continuing to see very good growth. While Iowa has lost almost 26-thousand manufacturing jobs in the past five years, Goss says the state has begun adding jobs in heavy manufacturing. The survey and economic models forecast that Iowa will add approximately 35-hundred manufacturing jobs in 2005. While the unemployment rate has risen slightly over the past several months, Goss expects Iowa’s jobless rate to move below five-percent by the end of summer with continuing improvement in new hiring.
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