The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Ames, Iowa: Not Exactly Epicenter of the National Unemployment Crisis


We can expect quite a bit of talk about jobs in tonight’s debate and in the rhetoric leading up to Saturday’s straw poll in Ames. But Iowa has it relatively good compared to the rest of the country, with the 8th-lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at 6 percent. The past year the state has “enjoyed” a very slow, gradual reduction from 6.2 percent unemployment to 6 percent.

All things considered, Ames is in not too bad shape, either, although it’s not been a good year overall:

The Ames Metropolitan Statistical Area reported a drop of 2,400 jobs in June. This drop was seasonally expected and contained to state government summer employment contraction (-2,700 jobs). This drop was meagerly offset by gains in local government and goods producing, adding 200 and 100 jobs, respectively. Since June last year Ames has shed 1,100 jobs. Losses were spread throughout service-providing industries, with private service-providing paring 800 jobs and government jobs contracting by 400.

This analysis puts the unemployment rate in Ames at 5.4 percent, a jump from the previous month’s 4.3 percent, a jump of roughly 400 people. In the past year, the local unemployment rate has ranged from 4.0 to 5.4 percent.

Nationally, the circumstances are much worse – 9.1 percent currently, ranging from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent in the past year.

Tags: Ames Straw Poll , Unemployment


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