Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Iowa Endures Largest Monthly Increase in Unemployment in Quarter Century

Bookmark and Share

The new numbers released late last week by Iowa Workforce Development continue to highlight the worst employment trend the Hawkeye State has faced in more than three decades.

Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5.1 in April to 5.8 percent in May - the biggest net and percentage increase in more than 24 years.

Since January 1976, Iowa has endured a double-digit percentage month-to-month increase in unemployment in only two months: January 1985 (23.5 percent) and May 2009 (13.7 percent).

Largest Monthly Percentage Increases in Unemployment in Iowa, 1976-2009

Month
Rate
% Increase
January 1985
8.4
23.5
May 2009
5.8
13.7
January 2009
4.8
9.1
March 2009
5.2
6.1
December 1979
4.9
4.3

The net 0.7-point increase in May 2009 is also the second largest net jump in unemployment during this 33+ year span.

Over the past four decades, Iowa has had a remarkably stable workforce and, since January 1976, unemployment has risen by more than one-tenth of a percent in just 8 out of 400 months. However, three of these largest net increases have occurred in 2009.

Largest Monthly Net Increases in Unemployment in Iowa, 1976-2009

Month
Rate
Net Increase
January 1985
8.4
1.6
May 2009
5.8
0.7
January 2009
4.8
0.4
March 2009
5.2
0.3
December 1979
4.9
0.2
April 1980
5.4
0.2
August 1980
5.9
0.2
December 1981
7.6
0.2

Iowa has had by far the most stable unemployment numbers throughout the Upper Midwest since the 1970s.

By contrast, Minnesota has had the largest number of months with a greater than 0.1-point increase in unemployment in the region, with more than 8 times as many months (65) with such increases as Iowa (8).

Wisconsin is close behind with 64 months, followed by North and South Dakota.

Months With More Than 0.1-Point Increase in Unemployment by State, 1976-2009

State
Months
Minnesota
65
Wisconsin
64
North Dakota
54
South Dakota
34
Iowa
8

Iowa Governor Chet Culver has not fared well politically during this economic downturn. Culver finished out 2008 strong with a 57 percent approval rating in December. However, that rating fell to 50 percent in January and then below the 50 percent mark in each of the five subsequent monthly polls, currently settling at 42 percent in June (SurveyUSA).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Minnesota U.S. Senate Race Still Fodder for Late-Night Comedians
Next post: Is New GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers Politically Vulnerable?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting