The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors has a mixed view on the recession. Charles Whiteman, head of the University of Iowa’s Institute for Economic Research, is a member of the advisory panel. "The general picture here…I’m very, very cautiously optimistic about the turn (in the economy)," Whiteman says.
Iowa businesses are still shedding jobs, especially in manufacturing, but at a slower rate. Whiteman expects personal income to improve soon. "I can say I’m very, very cautiously optimistic to see that turn, but it’s not very dramatic one," Whiteman says. "It’s not really decisive and there’s a lot of uncertainty associated with it."
The average Iowa factory worker still is logging less than 40 hours a week. However, new manufacturing orders increased in June and one analyst noted factory orders helped lead the state out of the last recession. The housing sector shows some improvement, too, but an Iowa Department of Revenue expert suggested it had fallen so far it had nowhere to go but up. Governor Chet Culver spoke with reporters after hearing from the experts.
"I’m encouraged, overall, from what I heard today in terms of hopefully turning the corner soon," Culver said. "…If you look at how deep this recession was, I’m encouraged to see some of the trends showing improvement."
Iowa’s unemployment rate was 6.2% in June, a 23-year high. Iowa’s unemployment rate was significantly lower a year ago, at 4.1% for June of 2008. Iowa’s jobless figure, though, is still well below the national unemployment rate of 9.5%.