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UI Economics Institute Projects Steady Job Growth in Iowa in 2008

Nonfarm employment in Iowa is expected to stay steady in 2008, growing at a sustainable 0.3 percent rate, according to the latest quarterly forecast by the Institute for Economic Research at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business.

"The fraction of Iowans employed in the nonagricultural sector is anticipated to remain steady next year and increase slightly in 2009," said John Geweke, economics professor at the University of Iowa and director of the institute. "This is a change from 2004 to 2007, when the fraction of Iowans employed in the nonagricultural sector grew steadily each year."

Job growth for the current year is expected to be 1.1 percent. Geweke said the reason for the slower rate in the coming years is a function of the state's low population growth, which inherently limits job growth.

"The 2004 to 2007 rate of growth could not be sustained indefinitely because employment cannot exceed population," Geweke said.

The latest figure was revised upward from a projected job loss of 0.1 percent in the institute's October report, Geweke said. The institute forecasts Iowa job growth in 2009 at 0.4 percent.

The report forecasts personal income in Iowa, after adjusting for inflation, to increase 1.9 percent in 2008 and 2.2 percent in 2009.

The Institute for Economic Research serves Iowans as an advisory group to the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors. The council's discussions are, in turn, used by the state's Revenue Estimating Conference in determining the official prediction of the rate of growth of tax revenues for the coming two fiscal years. The Board of Regents created the institute in 1975 to facilitate cohesive and continuing economic research, and to establish a formal mechanism for providing interaction with, and economic research services to, government and industry. Each quarter the institute produces the Iowa Economic Forecast, which contains quantitative forecasts of economic conditions and tax revenues for the State of Iowa using the latest advances in econometrics.

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