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Tama County unemployment stands at 5th highest

July 30, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

See: Accompanying Unemployment Table - pdf

Unemployment in Tama County stood at 7.9 percent in February, essentially the same rate as January and just slightly higher than the February, 2013 rates. There was a total of 680 workers listed as unemployed in February as in January.

However, the figure is up from 5.8 percent unemployment two months ago when 500 were recorded out of work.

The Tama county unemployment rate is the 5th highest among Iowa's 99 counties.

How much of that jump can be attributed to the loss of some 90 jobs at the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo has to be measured with consideration of other factors Kerry Koonce, Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, told The Toledo Chronicle.

This includes seasonably adjusted employment rates that are not made monthly for counties and the total number in the county workforce which dropped from 8,030 to 8,000 in February, she said.

Article PDFs

Koonce said the 90 IJH jobs would be recorded in the Tama County figures regardless of the county of residence of the employees.

Koonce also said the unemployment rates of Allamakee County at 8.7 percent and adjacent Clayton County at 8.2 percent are historically high in February due to the large number of workers in those counties who are employed in seasonal construction jobs.

State-wide, the seasonably adjusted rate was 4.4 percent unemployed in February. A Workforce Development news release said the state has the highest number of employees in five years.

The U.S. unemployment rate for February is listed at 6.7 percent for February.

Call For

Emergency Unemployment Benefits

In an Iowa media telephone conference call on Wednesday, a push was made for reinstatement of emergency unemployment compensation by the U.S. Congress.

The program expired in December, 2013.

Katherine McFate, President and CEO of the Center for Effective Government, Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 and Bob Shultis, Cedar Rapids, who recently regained employment after more than two years without a suitable job all called for Congress to pass funding for the program.

They contended the effect on unemployed workers who are unable to find new jobs is "devastating" and many are in danger of losing their homes, retirement money and savings if they are not afforded the program help.

McFate leveled blame squarely on Republicans and House leader John Boehner.

Homan question why the administration of Governor Terry Branstad had closed some 30 Iowa workforce development offices across the state leaving workers with kiosks which many lack the computer skills necessary to use.

The call was sponsored by AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the Center for Effective Government, the Iowa Citizen Action Network and Progress Iowa.

House Speaker Boehner made these comments on Thursday concerning U.S. jobs:

"A record number of people are unemployed or have left the workforce. More have left the workforce than have found new jobs. Incomes for American families have declined under this president, while the cost of everything from gas to groceries has gone up.

"We can do better. Republicans are listening to the American people, and we're focused on jobs. This week we're sending more jobs bills to the Democrat-controlled Senate. I think it's time for the president to break the Senate gridlock, so we can deliver more solutions to middle-class American families."



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