Iowa’s economy continues to improve, according to Iowa Workforce Development. The unemployment rate dropped to 8% in June (131,200 unemployed) from 10.2% (168,100 unemployed) in May. The national unemployment rate for June was 11.1%. Keep in mind that the unemployment rate only counts people looking for work. It does not count able bodied people who are not looking for work.
For June, the Iowa workforce was 1,639,400, and the total employed was 1,508,300. This compares with total employment of 1,521,200 in May. They give no explanation for the slight drop but I am speculating that it may be because there were temporary employees hired to get the crops planted in May.
Nonfarm employment was 1,464,800 in June, compared with 1,414,600 in May. The labor force participation rate is 66.2%. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people 16 years of age or older, that are working or looking for work. It does not include people with disabilities preventing them from working, stay at home moms and students. It does not include some able bodied people who choose not to work.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped from 53,242 in May to 39,218 in June. Total claims were 169,828 in June compared to 204,355 in May.
I know this is a lot of numbers and it is hard to follow so many. The main point is that our unemployment rate has gone down dramatically both here in Iowa and nationally over the last 2 months. I don’t know that we can expect a drop of 2% per month much longer but anything close to that will soon get us “back to normal.” There is reason to be optimistic.
We have heard discussions for some time about releasing more prisoners. The argument is that there are many prisoners who are in prison, serving long sentences for minor, nonviolent crimes. I am researching this subject and will address it in a future newsletter.