The state’s hit a record level for total employment, for the second month in a row. Workforce Analyst Ann Wagner says the last year ended on a more promising note than it began. The statewide unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally-adjusted four-and-a-half-percent in December, down from four-point-8 in November and down from the 5-percent one year ago in December. That ended the year on a good note because 2005 had started its first quarter out with a jobless rate even higher, up to five-point-one percent.
Wagner says job growth this year has “taken some of the slack out of the labor market.” In November the state hit a record with the number of nonfarm jobs, but in December it exceeded that to set a new all-time high of one-Million, 490-thousand, 800 nonfarm jobs in Iowa. (1,490,800) Wagner says that’s 29-thousand more jobs than the state had a year ago. She says the state labor department knew we were likely to hit the milestone of all-time employment last fall.
The economy actually had started to turn around slowly as long ago as mid-2003, Wagner says, but through the next year job growth was still sporadic and didn’t include all areas. In 2005 we saw growth in just about every industry, Wagner says, and in recent months it’s been strong. In December she says there were more than six-thousand jobs created in the state.