Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Iowa Unemployment Soars at Historic Rate; Governor Culver's Rating Hits Record Low

Bookmark and Share

New numbers released on Friday by Iowa Workforce Development continue to find the Hawkeye State in the midst of its steepest increase in unemployment in more than 30 years.

Unemployment increased another 0.3 points in August, from 6.5 to 6.8 percent, the highest level in Iowa since July 1986. Of particular concern for Iowa's economy is the rate of increase - jobless claims have risen 61.9 percent during the last 12 months, the largest yearly jump in unemployment in the state dating back to at least January 1976.

(January 1976 is the first month of available data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website).

In fact, Iowa has set records for the yearly increase in the unemployment rate during each of the last four months, with rising 12-month record highs in May (42.5 percent), June (51.2 percent), July (58.5 percent), and August (61.9 percent).

Prior to 2009, the largest previous 12-month jump in jobless claims was 33.3 percent (from September 1979 to September 1980).

The escalating jobs crisis in Iowa is also taking a political toll on first term Democratic Governor, Chet Culver. Culver, who is up for reelection in 2010, has seen his job approval ratings drop 37 percent from December 2008 to August 2009.

Culver was enjoying solid, steady approval ratings last year of 53 percent (August), 56 percent (September), 56 percent (October), 51 percent (November) and 57 percent (December) according to SurveyUSA polling prior to Iowa's first big jump in unemployment from 4.4 to 4.8 percent in January 2009.

The unemployment rate has since risen 2 percentage points in Iowa to 6.8 percent, and Culver's average approval rating has fallen noticeably along the way, from an average rating of 55 percent from August-December 2008 to an average rating of 44 percent from January through August 2009. Culver received a record low job performance rating of 36 percent in late August, according to a SurveyUSA poll of 600 adults statewide.

Changing Iowa Unemployment Rate and Approval Ratings of Governor Chet Culver, August 2008-August 2009

Month
Unemployment
Culver
August 2008
4.2
53
September 2008
4.2
56
October 2008
4.3
56
November 2008
4.3
51
December 2008
4.4
57
January 2009
4.8
50
Feburary 2009
4.9
46
March 2009
5.2
46
April 2009
5.1
42
May 2009
5.7
48
June 2009
6.2
42
July 2009
6.5
44
August 2009
6.8
36
Note: Monthly unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly approval rating data from SurveyUSA. Polls conducted of 600 Iowa adults.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Wisconsin's Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time in 15 Months
Next post: Minnesota Housing Foreclosure Rate Still Up 67 Percent Since Election Day

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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