The economy was a factor in nearly everything that happened in 2009. When it wasn’t center stage, as it was in five of the Top 10 Iowa Business Stories of 2009, it was the backdrop against which all else played out, according to the Des Moines Register. Here’s the newspaper’s roundup of the most significant business news of the year.
Hardly a business or industry was untouched by layoffs in 2009. Nearly all of Iowa’s major employers cut jobs, including Principal Financial Group, Rockwell Collins, Winnebago Industries Inc. and Pella Corp.
Nearly 40,000 Iowans lost jobs during the year as statewide unemployment climbed from 4.4% to 6.7%. By year’s end the number of unemployed Iowans (113,100) was a few thousand less than the combined populations of Dubuque and Council Bluffs (58,000 each).
Unemployment in 2009 climbed to levels unseen since the farm crisis years of the mid-1980s, when Iowa’s jobless rate peaked at 8.5% for six straight months in 1982 and 1983.
Despite the pain, Iowa’s November unemployment rate of 6.7% remained well below the 10% national rate.
Iowa employers began job cutting in earnest during the fourth quarter of 2008, and layoffs continued to mount through most of 2009.