ISU Economist: Iowa’s Economy In Recession, Held Back By Tight Labor Market

Ames, Iowa — Iowa State University economist Peter Orazem says while there have been gains, the number of Iowans who are working continues to lag pre-pandemic levels.

Iowa had one of the oldest labor forces in the country prior to the pandemic and Orazem says it appears many who opted to retire in the past 18 months are not going to return to the workforce.

Ten days ago, the Iowa Workforce Development agency announced the state had added back all the jobs that were lost due to the pandemic. Orazem says the total number of employed Iowans still remains about one percent below pre-pandemic levels — and the labor participation rate is about two percent below what it was in February of 2020.

Orazem made his comments during a weekend appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.

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