Has a “real” recession hit here yet?

Has the recession really "hit" Des Moines like Phoenix? Are we suffering through a recession "light"?

A few times over the past two weeks, I had a chance to talk to someone who recently returned here to Des Moines after living and working in Phoenix.  She had returned home after being laid-off and spending nearly a year trying to find a new job in Phoenix, but to no avail.

Currently, she is working part-time for a local restaurant.  She commented that her hours were being reduced due to slow business.  By no means is the restaurant is going to suffer much.  It’s a very reputable and long-standing establishment.  She went on say something that took me by surprise.  I will paraphrase her comments:

I don’t think Des Moines has gone through a “real” recession yet.  My hours are being reduced, even at a part-time job.  Financial services and insurance companies has taken a hit here, but has the recession affected everyone, or just in small pockets?

I thought Des Moines and Iowa were going through a recession, but I had to think about what she said in depth.  While it was no surprise that Wells Fargo, Principal, and other insurance/financial services business has been directly impacted by the recession, but what about the other business sectors like restaurants, engineering, and service industries?

Outside of the financial service sector, how has the recession affected other industries?  Has there been a downturn, upswing, or have things stayed steady here where we live?

It’s a fair question to ask, because we tend to see things from our own personal view and experiences.  An architect may see his profession as remaining steady, whereas someone working in insurance will think things are getting worse in that industry because of the “blood-letting” of layoffs and reduction of the work force.

Has the recession affected Des Moines or have we kind of “dodged” the bullet to a certain extent?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Charlie Ahern says:

    The February unemployment rate in Silicon Valley was 12.1%. In the Des Moines-West Des Moines area the rate was 7.1%.

    For DM-WDM to experience this recession at the same level as we’re experiencing here in The Valley 15,800 jobs would have to disappear. Imagine an increase in unemployment in DM-WDM from 22,200 to 38,000 people.

    DM may not have dodged a bullet, but it hasn’t been hit with the shotgun blasts that have affected other areas of the country.

    A few more stats to indicate the scale of the recession in Silicon Valley. As of March 1st:
    * 27% of the office space is available for lease
    * There is enough vacant office space for 65,000 more office workers (assuming 250 gross square feet per person).
    * There is over 50 million square feet of commercial space available for lease.

    I don’t see The Valley’s economy turning around for several more years. That’s one reason why my wife and I are planning on relocating to WDM in June. Next summer I’m looking forward to touring Iowa as a RAGBRAI participant.

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