A liberal think-tank has released a report declaring the economic recovery in Iowa “anemic.” The Iowa Policy Project report shows there are only four-thousand more people employed today in Iowa than there were at the start of the 2001 recession. Elaine Ditsler co-authored the report. “Slow economic growth has gripped the nation since the 2001 recession and Iowa has been especially affected by the recession and the aftermath,”Ditslersays. Ditslersays the median annual income in Iowa in 1999 was 45-thousand dollars and today it’s two-thousand dollars less.Ditslercites data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau which found the median income in Iowa have “stagnated” and poverty has increased. “Compared to five years ago, especially, Iowans are worse off today,” she says. She says about 70-thousand Iowans are unemployed today, which is 20-thousand more than there were jobless when the recession started in March of 2001. The report compares the median incomes rather than average incomes. Iowa Policy Project executive director David Osterberg says there’s a reason for that. “What we’re showing is the data that actually exists, and we try to use numbers that we think reflect the state of working Iowa. That’s why we use medians and not averages,” Osterberg says. “The average is going to go up if a whole bunch of rich guys get richer and yet that isn’t going to really reflect very much in terms of where the median, where the person right in the middle, is.” Governor Tom Vilsack, though, says there’s an economic revival underway in Iowa, fueled in part by big state grants for community projects that have boosted the construction industry. Ditsler, the number cruncher, says there’s no disputing the job and income figures she cites. As far as the “gross state product,”Ditsler says the numbers were higher in 2004, but largely due to a good harvest and it’s not a trend she expects to continue. Ditsler and Osterberg made their comments this (Thursday) morning at a statehouse news conference.
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