Iowa’s economy in 2012 again saw improvement from the previous year. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.9%, ranking Iowa with the 4th lowest in the nation. Helping to reduce Iowa’s unemployed has been the resurgence in the manufacturing sector; creating over 8,000 new jobs since 2011. Spurring this growth in manufacturing has been the strong performance of the agricultural sector over the past two years, with the price of corn, soybeans, and land values at all-time highs. Though the impact of the current drought has been severe, Iowa’s economy is well diversified, helping to diminish the impact of the drought. While the housing market in Iowa never experienced the significant downturn that the national housing market suffered, Iowa’s housing market has rebounded with prices of existing homes and new housing starts increasing from the previous years. Overall, if the progress Iowa’s economy made in 2012 acts as a guideline for the future, then Iowans should be excited for 2013.
Another positive sign for Iowa's economy was the recent announcement by the Revenue Estimating Conference who sets Iowa's budget expenditure limit. Overall, due to positive tax inflows, the Revenue Estimating Conference has revised their projection upwards to $7,650.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2014. This revision is another indicator Iowa's economy is bouncing back from the most recent recession. Iowa's 85th General Assembly comes into session January 14th. Session is scheduled to last for 110 days and during that time legislators will craft a budget. As always is the case, Iowa has a balanced budget law. This means the legislature can only appropriate 99% of expected revenue. The balanced budget law insures we only spend what we take in.