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State Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly Last Month; Northwest Iowa Unenployment Remains Low

Des Moines, Iowa — The state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, to five-point-one percent. Kerry Koonce with the Iowa Workforce Development agency says there were 17-hundred fewer unemployed Iowans in October compared to September.

(as said) “We had a drop of a tenth of a percent in our unemployment rate,” Koonce says.

There was an increase in employment in the private sector in October, according to Koonce, an additional six-thousand jobs.

(as said) “The largest increase since February,” Koonce says, “including 1500 jobs in manufacturing, which is always good when we add jobs there.”

There were job gains in education and health services as well.

(as said) “And when they say education, they don’t mean your public schools. It’s your private colleges and institutions like that and there were 1800 jobs added there, split pretty evenly between education and health services,” Koonce says. “…Then 2600 jobs (were added) in leisure and hospitality, which over 1400 of those were in the accommodations and food service industry.”

The national unemployment rate in October was seven-point-nine percent. Iowa’s unemployment rate a year ago was six-tenths of a percent higher than it was this October. There are pockets of the state where unemployment remains far higher than the statewide average.

(as said) “Southeast Iowa, unfortunately, is always higher,” Koonce says. “Lee County is at 7.9 percent. That’s the highest one in the state.”

Koonce says there was a bit of a leveling off, though, throughout the state, as only four other counties recorded an October unemployment rate at or above six-point-one percent.

(as said) “Those are Hamilton kind of in north central Iowa, Monona on the western side of the state and then Wapello and Appanoose,”

Koonce says. Ottumwa in is Wapello County. Centerville is the largest city in Appanoose County. Almost 84-thousand Iowans were unemployed in October. According to statistics from the Iowa Workforce Development agency, over one-point-five million Iowans had a job in October.

In northwest Iowa, unemployment is the same or better than it was last year. Individual county figures are not seasonally-adjusted.

Lyon County continues to have the lowest unemployment in the state, at 2.4 percent. That’s even with last year at this time, and just two tenths of a point more than September’s figure of 2.2.

The second lowest unemployment in the state continues to be in Sioux County at 3.1 percent. That’s also right even with last year at this time, and up slightly from 2.8 percent in September. Incidentally, tied for third place are Carroll and Shelby Counties, at 3.2 percent.

O’Brien County’s unemployment was at 3.7 percent in October, one tenth of a percent better than last year, and up from 3.5 percent in September.

Osceola county gets the prize for most improved in our area. October unemployment there was 3.8 percent. That’s six tenths of a percent better than last year at this time, when it was 4.4. Osceola County unemployment was up slightly from September of this year — when it was 3.5 percent.

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