The unemployment rate in Iowa has gone down every month since October of last year, but the drops are not big ones and an Iowa State University economist says that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Economist Dave Swenson says Iowa’s jobs fundamentals are strong, and will stay that way as long as the rest of the country keeps improving, too.
“Iowa is very much like the rest of the nation — stuck in a slow growth mode. We depend heavily on the rest of the nation to buy our goods and services, and so we have to wait for the rest of the country to get healthier for us to get healthier,” Swenson says.
While things are moving slowly, it beats the alternative of not moving at all. “About a year ago to nine months ago, we were really just stuck in idle. And we’re not stuck in idle any more,” Swenson says. “It looks like there’s across the board good evidence of progress. And that’s about as good as it gets.”
Swenson says Iowa’s recovered more than half the manufacturing jobs it lost in the recession and there’s good news in the construction and farming industries too. The report from Iowa Workforce Development released last week showed the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in April, down from 5.3% in March, and well below the April 2011 level of 5.9%.