Following the national trend, Iowa’s economy is sliding into negative territory, according to a monthly survey of business leaders across the region. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the November survey was the sixth month in a row for a fall in the Hawkeye State’s key economic numbers.

Commodity prices are coming down significantly, Goss says, while ag input prices aren’t budging nearly as fast, putting a pinch on the state’s agricultural sector and for businesses with strong ties to farming. In the past year, Iowa has lost 1.2% of its manufacturing jobs, and he expects the pace of manufacturing job losses to quicken somewhat in the months ahead.

"This part of the country, including Iowa, depends fairly significantly on Iowa," Goss says. "In fact, Iowa depends very heavily on exports and we’ve seen exports weaken very significantly in this part of the country, and certainly in Iowa." He says both durable and nondurable goods sectors are experiencing pullbacks in growth, especially industries that rely on those exports.

Goss says the nine-state Midwest region is suffering economically right along with the rest of the nation. North Dakota is seeing continued positive growth but as for the other eight states, Goss says, "We’re going to see rising unemployment rates, job losses and a real economic slowdown well into 2009." He says he expects Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to rise above five-percent in the first quarter of 2009.