IPP Friends: How to Count Jobs
Keeping Count of Iowa Jobs — Carefully
Numbers are funny things. Except when they’re not. And when it comes to jobs, they are not something to be treated lightly. That’s why IPP today put out a special Iowa JobWatch — a report that normally goes out only when Iowa Workforce Development releases monthly updates on employment in the state.
Find today’s report here:
The Governor’s Office has been peddling a number above 160,000 for jobs the administration claims have been created on the Governor’s watch. The best explanation for that number that we have found is that … well … there isn’t one.
Meanwhile, we have done the math every month for the last 10 years and it’s quite clear: The Governor’s count is wrong. He is claiming almost triple the number of jobs actually added by the Iowa economy since he took office. In our special report today by Colin Gordon, we note the real number: 56,600.
But more to the point of job-tracking, we step away from the political lens that others focus through, and instead we look at jobs from the standpoint of economic performance. And when you do that, you see we are still are 55,100 jobs short of where we need to be to (1) recoup the number of jobs lost during the Great Recession, a level Iowa reached this summer, and (2) add enough additional jobs to keep up with growth of the Iowa population.
We have made such points in our JobWatch reports, but we thought recent publicity for the faulty numbers merited a “primer” to help everyone as a reality check. When policy choices are being debated, using solid data is essential. Try your own count at home. We are pretty sure you’ll come up with the same number we do.
Starting Each Month Further Behind
For those working low-wage jobs and receiving SNAP benefits, November delivered a new blow. All beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — 420,000 people in Iowa — began getting fewer benefits as an improvement from the 2009 Recovery Act expired, even though the recovery is not complete. Find our blog post about the change, A new look for the first of the month, which comes as the House and Senate are still negotiating a new Farm Bill that could cut benefits even further — drastically so, if House leaders get their way.
Thank you as always for your interest in our work!
The IPP Staff