Iowa’s unemployment rate has steadily increased over several months. On Friday, July 17, 2009, Iowa Workforce Development announced Iowa’s unemployment rate increased to 6.2% in June, up from 5.7% one month ago and up more than two full percentage points from the 4% reported this time last year. The recent report, which doesn’t take into consideration any of the jobs lost in the month of July, indicates a whopping 104,100 Iowans are out of work. The last report of unemployment in Iowa being this high dates back to February 1986, more than 23 years ago.
In June, 104,100 or 6.2% of Iowans were out of work compared to the 68,400 or 4.1% unemployed the same time last year. Workforce Development reported that once again most of the jobs lost took place in the manufacturing sector. Professional and business services and construction also dropped nearly 3,000 jobs. In June, Iowa paid over $62 million in unemployment insurance claims, compared to the $25 million paid in June 2008.
The U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.5% in June, up slightly from 9.4% in May and up nearly four percentage points from the June 2008 level of 5.6%. While Iowa’s unemployment rate is lower than the national rate, it appears the statewide jobless rate is growing faster than the national figure, which is concerning to House Republicans.
Iowans were repeatedly told last winter and spring that borrowing millions of dollars from hard working Iowa taxpayers would create thousands of jobs. However, there is little evidence that the federal stimulus and Governor Culver’s multi-million dollar bonding scheme are working. Nevertheless, Workforce Development officials continue to claim that construction jobs will be added as new projects get underway. House Republicans are committed to creating long-term sustainable jobs and look forward to working with Democrats to enact policies to do so. House Republicans believe strengthening Iowa’s business environment, not more government spending, is the answer to job creation and economic recovery in Iowa.