The president and C-E-O of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce says the downturn in the airline and communications industries has hit the state’s second-largest city hard.Cedar Rapids Chamber president Ron Corbett says Linn County’s unemployment rate is up to four percent from a low below two percent. But he says that’s still better than the national average of six percent unemployment. Corbett says McLeod Communications laid off workers to retool, and Rockwell Collins, the city’s other major employer, was hard-hit by the slow-down in the airline industry. Interest rates are low, but Corbett says employers are hestitant to borrow to expand. Corbett says the strange thing is most businesses are paying down their debt. He says what’s holding people off is the cloud of uncertainty about the war. Corbett made his comments during taping of the Iowa Public T.V. program, Iowa Press.
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