The latest Iowa unemployment report — issued last week — shows some counties have jobless rates that’re twice as high as the statewide average of four percent. Ann Wagner, a state labor market analyst, says the highest unemployment rate in Iowa was in Jackson County. She says the county’s nine-point-four percent unemployment rate is tied to the closure of a couple of small manufacturing plants and construction layoffs. Wagner says there’s a “pocket” of unemployment in the southeast corner of Iowa. She says there’s a “little cluster of counties — Lee, Des Moines, Henry and Louisa” counties — that are a “cluster” of high unemployment. Wagner says last fall’s closing of the Blue Bird bus manufacturing company led to a high number of layoffs in that area. At the other end of the scale, there are counties which have unemployment rates that’re much lower than the statewide average. Fremont and Carroll counties tied for the lowest unemployment rates with just two-point-six percent. Wagner says those counties have simply avoided many of the layoffs associated with the recession.
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