“There are a lot of people having trouble paying rent, feeding the kids,” said Quirmbach, who has a doctorate in economics from Princeton University. “Christmas (wasn’t) as jolly as it would’ve been.”
As of November, Iowa had 1,561,600 people employed. That’s up from 1,506,500 in July, but before the pandemic it would’ve been the fewest employed Iowans since 2005.
“We have a lot of jobs to recover,” Swenson said.
Iowa has benefited, though, from being less tourist-dependent than other states, Swenson said. Iowa lost about 27,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality between November 2019 and November 2020.
“That’s where the bulk of the lost jobs are,” Swenson said. “Iowa is not a tourism state.”
At the same time, manufacturing lost about 4,200 jobs.
Even for those employed, these numbers have significant implications.
“If our labor market is constrained, then we can’t grow in terms of job growth, period,” Swenson said.
West specifically mentioned reduced burdens on taxes for unemployment insurance and the ease of finding new customers who can afford to spend more as concerns.
“When the economy is running great, everyone benefits from it,” West said.