The state’s unemployment rate has hit four percent, the highest level since January of 2006. Iowa Policy Project executive director David Osterberg says it’s sobering news. "Overall, it shows that we have a very weak job situation," Osterberg says. "It was weak before and it’s going to be, perhaps, weaker."
State officials say nearly 2,000 more Iowans were classified as unemployed in June compared to May. "Flooding, combined with other economic-related layoffs" accounted for that increase, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
Osterberg doubts the full impact of the flooding is reflected in the June unemployment report. "A lot of the data collected is before the storms and the floods hit," Osterberg says. "…They were gathering their information, perhaps very early in June, before things started to happen."
The jobless rate for June was just a tenth-of-a-percent higher than it was in May. The national unemployment rate for June was five-and-a-half percent. "Four percent unemployment is better than five-point-something. We should always remember that, but on the other hand we have been growing very, very slowly the number of jobs."
Osterberg warns slow job growth is a sign Iowa’s economy really hasn’t regained steam and is no where near as robust as it was in what he calls the "halcyon days" of the late ’90s. The director of the Iowa Workforce Development agency issued a prepared statement, saying Iowa’s economic performance "remains strong" compared to what’s happening nationally.