For the tenth month in a row, a survey of Iowa business leaders and supply managers shows the state’s chief economic numbers are in decline. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the recession started hitting Iowa last May. For the nine-state region, Goss says business conditions haven’t been this bad in 25 years.
"I think right now in the Mid-American region, we’re finding a bottom," Goss says. "We’re going to probably come off that bottom but it will be very slowly. We’ll see negative numbers well into 2009." Goss says the region gained more than 120-thousand jobs up until last October. Since then, he says the Midwest has lost.
From October of 2008 and January 2009, the region lost more than 200,000 jobs and that trend will likely continue. Goss says, "We will still see rising unemployment probably through most of this year, even while the economy is rebounding, we’re still going to see employment not rising to any great extent, in fact, we’ll probably see job losses for all of 2009." Goss says there is proof this is a global economic slowdown.
"The global economic slowdown is restraining exports," Goss says. "At the same time, imports are off significantly because of the recession in the U.S. so trade numbers were not good for the month of March, as least according to the supply managers that we survey." The good news is, Goss says we have probably seen the worse of the downturn but the region will be slow in recovering. He is still calling for improvements by the 4th quarter of 2009.
Since May, Iowa has lost about 23,000 jobs. Goss says, "Our job indices are consistent with additional jobs losses of another 15,000 in the state by the end the third quarter of this year."