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.

Extension Offering “Powerful Tools for Caregivers: Managing Stress” Workshop Nov. 29 in Cherokee

Cherokee, Iowa — Thirty-nine percent of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or has a disability.

That’s from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. They tell us caregiving can be a stressful responsibility leading to poor health, mental distress, and less life satisfaction for the caregiver, and it can be challenging for caregivers to find the support that they need.

Extension offers educational resources and programs to help and support family caregivers at the local level. A one-session workshop for caregivers entitled “Managing Stress” is scheduled for this Tuesday, Nov. 29, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cherokee. Caregivers who attend will learn about self-care strategies and techniques to increase relaxation and reduce stress.

Mackenzie DeJong, a human sciences specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach says that the “Managing Stress” workshop is a part of Extension’s “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” offering. She says the multi-session “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” provides information, support strategies, communication techniques, stress reduction ideas and resources to assist family caregivers with their concerns related to caregiving. In the hour-and-a-half “Managing Stress” workshop DeJong says they will just focus on the one topic, managing stress.

The “Managing Stress” workshop is free for participants, but extension officials are asking that those attending register in advance for planning purposes. Participants can register online at or can call the church at 712-225-3955 to sign up.

DeJong says, “Caregivers who thrive, rather than just survive, understand that by taking care of themselves they are better able to provide the care their loved ones need.”

To learn more, visit or contact DeJong at 712-541-8737 or