Iowa’s jobless rate has stabilized, according to a workforce analyst. Ann Wagner in the state Labor Department says February jobless numbers rose slightly to an even four-percent from January’s three-point-eight. Wagner says there’s been very little fluctuation in the state’s jobless condition for nearly a year. Iowa’s four-percent jobless rate compares to a national unemployment rate of five-point-eight percent. She says Iowa always has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, but a lot of job seekers would tell you right now that opportunities are limited, Wagner says. Manufacturing, an industry that hasn’t really stabilized yet, continues to lay off workers, and retail trade has seen lots of small-business closings in an industry that’s been “soft” throughout the recession. Wagner says this may actually be the end of a flat spell for the economy. As well and quickly as things seem to be going in Iraq, that may build consumer confidence and create more job opportunities. The state’s unemployment reporting has been lagging a month behind, but next month the workforce agency will release two jobless summaries, for March and April, bringing the reports out in more timely fashion for the remainder of the year.
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