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Governor Reynolds announced Wednesday that the state finished Fiscal Year 2020 with a budget surplus of $305.5 million. This comes as the state closes the books on Fiscal Year 2020, which ended on June 30.  According to the Department of Management, General Fund revenue grew by 1 percent during the fiscal year.  This growth came in the midst of a global pandemic which shut down significant parts of the Iowa economy for nearly 2 months.

House Republicans commitment to passing budgets that spend less than they take in while maintaining funding commitments for schools, health care, and public safety has been shown to put Iowa in a strong budget position to weather the ups and downs of the economy.  This summer, the Council of State Governments conducted a survey of all 50 states and found Iowa to be best positioned to weather the economic and fiscal risks that will arise from the coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa Ranks 4th for Health Care

Recently, the Commonwealth Fund ranked Iowa 4th in the nation for health care. Iowa’s ranking moved up one spot from 2019. The 2020 ranking scorecard included ranking Iowa 1st for prevention and treatment, 7th for access and affordability, and 12th for avoidable use and cost. To learn more about Iowa’s 2020 ranking, click here.

Even with these consistently high health care ratings, House Republicans know that our work isn’t complete. We will continue efforts to ensure Iowans have access to high quality, affordable health care and have passed bills and provided significant appropriations to improve our mental health system for all ages, expand health care workforce and telehealth services to rural Iowa, combat the opioid epidemic, and ensure quality care for the most vulnerable Iowans.

Iowa’s unemployment rate declines to 6.0 percent in August

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 6.0 percent in August. The state’s jobless rate was 2.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent in August.

“Thankfully, Iowa’s unemployment rate has continued to decline since our peak month in April, 2020, when we saw initial claims of 157,324. The sustained decline shows the resilience of Iowa’s economy as we navigate the impact of the pandemic,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “There are over 60,000 jobs posted at www.iowaworks.gov and employers are desperately trying to find a skilled workforce. We encourage job seekers to make an appointment at one of our IowaWORKS offices or use our new mobile application to connect with employers.”

The number of unemployed Iowans declined last month. In August, there were 96,500—down from 110,300 in July. The current estimate is 91,500 lower than the Covid-19 peak in April of 188,000. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,520,200 in August. This figure was 4,000 higher than July’s 1,516,200 and 4,400 lower than April 2020. Iowa’s unemployment rate rose to 11.0 percent in April and is now at 6.0 percent. The July rate was slightly higher at 6.8 percent.

The August civilian labor force stands at 1,616,800—9,700 lower than the month of July and 95,800 below April’s level of 1,712,600.

John Wills

Author: John Wills