When your state is not showing the heavy impact of joblessness in the United States, it can be easy to miss the impact.
Iowa’s jobless rate is 6 percent, two-thirds that of the nation as a whole, but nevertheless high for what we’re used to and representative of the fact that our payroll jobs are significantly below where they were before the recession started hitting Iowa. In our state, jobs are about 44,000 below where they stood in May 2008.
Today in the U.S. House, legislation is expected to come to a vote to cut unemployment benefits. It would cut up to 40 weeks of benefits next year — most from the states hardest hit by the recent recession. Our neighbors in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Kansas would see varying losses of weeks of benefits by next July. See the map below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
As Chad Stone of CBPP notes in a recent blog post, cutting off benefits in the hardest-hit states “greatly raises the risk that unemployed workers will run out of UI benefits before they find another job, imposing even greater hardship on them and their families. It also reduces the amount of support that UI — one of our highest-bang-for-the-buck stimulus programs — can provide for the struggling recovery.”
But even Iowa would be affected, if not with the benefit cut the way other states would be hit, then in the indirect impact on the state’s economy.
The cuts would shut off a flow of funds into the U.S. economy, the impact of which we cannot avoid. Sooner or later, it will hit our own stores, factories and services.
In short: We don’t need our lack of beaches to show us that Iowa is not an island. Jobs are at stake, right here in Iowa, with the vote in the House today.
Posted by Mike Owen, Assistant Director