A new report shows job losses in the Midwest are higher than the national average due to the region’s industrial composition. Report co-author Nicole Smith, at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says Iowa is doing “okay” compared to the rest of the Midwest, but it but could be doing better.
“Iowa is in better shape than many of the other Midwestern states because it has managed to diversify a little bit,” Smith says. “Manufacturing jobs are still 14% of (gross domestic product) but the unemployment rate is high.”
State labor officials say Iowa’s jobless rate in August was 6.1%, well below the national unemployment rate of 9.1%.
Smith says there are three fields that top the list of what the region’s employment needs will be when the recession ends. “The types of jobs that will most likely be created, and we’re already seeing signs of it, are in health care and in professional and business services, like legal services, accounting.”
Smith says the other field is computers and technology. She says she’s impressed with the number of Iowans who have post-secondary education. That’s important as we look beyond the recession, she says, because people will need more education and training to find good positions.
“The Midwest is fortunate in that sense,” Smith says. “There’s lots of skilled people. Many of the states are observing post-secondary jobs that are above the national average, so we know if you have postsecondary education and training, you will get the type of wage and salary that you deserve.” Smith says 20% of the job openings in the country will be here in the heartland.
“A substantial amount of jobs are going to be right in the Midwest,” she says. “We forecast between 2008 and ’18, that there’ll be 46-million job openings and 10.2-million of those will be in the Midwest region.” Smith says those Iowans who are interested in going back to school, or for those looking at starting a career, to seriously look at health care, information and financial services and computers.