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Unemployment Rates Stable in Iowa and Nebraska

Some high profile Republicans who may run for president are in Des Moines today (Friday) where they’ll speak at a gathering of Christian conservatives.  Two members of the Trump White House will address The Family Leader’s annual Leadership Summit: former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will also be there.

Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats told Iowa PBS that those three potential GOP candidates were invited because they’ve spent less time speaking to Iowa evangelical voters. The Family Leader plays a prominent role in GOP presidential politics. In 2016, Vander Plaats endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who won the Iowa caucuses but lost the Republican nomination to Donald Trump.Party officials have said they expect the Iowa GOP to hold the nation’s first caucus again in 2024.

Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4% in June as more resident began looking for work. Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday that the unemployment rate increased from 3.9% in May. The number of working Iowans increased by 3,800 from May to June but the number of unemployed residents seeking jobs also increased by 2,400. Iowa is tied for the nation’s 12th lowest unemployment rate. Nebraska’s rate of 2.5% was the country’s lowest. 

Nebraska’s unemployment rate remained almost unchanged last month while the rates in some of its biggest cities increased slightly. The Nebraska Department of Labor reports a statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.5% in June, compared to 2.6% in May. The rate is substantially lower than the 6.6% unemployment rate in June 2020, in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the non-seasonally adjusted rates in the Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island areas ticked upward. The Omaha area’s unemployment rate increased to 3.2% in June, from 2.7% the prior month. The Lincoln area’s rate increased to 2.5%, from 2.5% the previous month. And the Grand Island area’s rate rose to 2.8% in June, up from 2.4% in May.

A new monthly survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests continued economic growth in the region, even as nonfarm jobs in most of those states remained below pre-pandemic levels. The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index dropped to 65.6 in July from June’s 70.0. Any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says federal labor statistics show nonfarm jobs across the region came in at 55,000 fewer jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. But three states — Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota — reported nonfarm employment levels above pre-pandemic levels.  Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

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