The coronavirus pandemic is the major cause for the labor shortage, according to Dave Swenson, economist and research scientist at Iowa State University.
“While the U.S. labor force rebounded some when job numbers increased a year ago, Iowa’s labor force numbers did not recover,” Swenson said. “Nonetheless, our labor force situation is alarming, and it will significantly slow our pace to recover full, pre-pandemic employment levels,” Swenson explained.
He said rural labor force issues are decades in the making. Iowa’s relatively stagnant population growth is at the root of the problem.
“Most of Iowa’s counties reached their peak population levels before 1940 and have been declining since,” Swenson said.
This story also covered in:
Bellevue Herald-Leader, May 19
Clinton Herald, May 24