Creighton University economist Ernie Goss today said Iowa’s economy appears to be bouncing back better from the pandemic compared to other parts of the country, but it’s not close to a full recovery.
“If you look at it, we’re still probably in Iowa five or six percent below pre-Covid level employment numbers,” Goss said this morning. “…It’s real easy to say negatives are getting less negative.”
Goss is a guest on this week’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa PBS. Goss suggested to moderator David Yepsen that more Iowans are unemployed than the unemployment rate suggests.
“I would say it’s undervalued. In other words, there are more unemployed than that one would suggest,” Goss said.
Yepsen asked: “So what do you think? How bad is unemployment?”
Goss replied: “It’s bad…particularly in leisure and hospitality.”
Goss said it’s more likely 8% to 9% of Iowans are unemployed, compared to the August unemployment rate of 6% that state officials announced today.
During a rally last night in Wisconsin, President Trump announced another round of federal assistance to U.S. farmers who continue to see prices for commodities dip due to the pandemic. Iowa State University ag economist Chad Hart said the spending was authorized by the so-called CARES Act that passed congress this spring.
“This has been telegraphed for some time,” said Hart, who is also a guest on this week’s “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS. “It’s about $13-14 billion dollars of support here…to help producers that are still suffering from price losses from earlier.”
Producers of livestock, dairy and eggs as well as so-called fish farms are eligible to apply for these new payments. Farmers who raise corn, cotton, beans, wheat and specialty crops like fruits and nuts are eligible, too.
In August, the USDA estimated federal payments would account for 36 percent of farm income this year and these payments will push that share even higher. A recent report shows that in general, southern farmers are getting bigger checks from the USDA than Midwestern farmers. Hart said that’s because the payments are based on the Farm Bill.
“When you look back at previous Farm Bill packages, they tended to be more tilted to southern crops as well,” Hart said, “and so when we piggyback on previous programs, they tend to line up the same way.”