You may recall that last month I warned of the danger of increasing inflation. The U. S. Bureau of Labor statistics has now released the figures for June. Inflation has increased to 5.4% over the 12 months ending in June. This compares with 5% for the 12 months ending last May. The June number of 5.4% is the largest increase since August of 2008. As long as the federal government keeps pumping large amounts of borrowed and printed new money into the economy, we should expect continuing inflation.
According to BLS the number of employed people increased by 850,000 in June. The unemployment rate remained at 5.9%. This should mean that more people were looking for work in June as compared to May. However, the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.6% in June, according to BLS.
The BLS has an interesting comment on education employment as part of the reason for the large increase in employment in June. They say: “In both public and private education, staffing fluctuations due to the pandemic, in part reflecting the return to in-person learning and other school-related activities, have distorted the normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns, likely contributing to the job gains in June.”
School Board & City Council Elections
You may know that school board and city council elections will be held on November 2. Voter turnout is usually very low for these elections. These elections are very important. Be sure to vote this year. School Board candidates must file their nomination papers between August 23 and September 16. City Council candidates must file nomination papers between August 9 and August 26. You should be able to find out who is running by checking with your county auditor. Local media will also likely publish information on the candidates.
You may remember that in 2017, in an effort to increase turnout, we passed a law combining school board and city council elections. They are both now held in November. Before that school board elections were held in September. According to the Secretary of State, 16.65% of registered voters in Iowa voted in school board and city council elections in November of 2019. This compares to an average of 6.5% in the 4 school elections prior to that. Though voter turnout is typically low for these elections, a factor that affects turnout is whether there are strongly contested races. If most candidates are unopposed, turnout is understandably lower than if there a number of hotly contested races.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your ideas or concerns.