The worst unemployment rate in the state is in Tama County. Judy Erickson with Iowa Workforce Development says the jobless rate skyrocketed with the closing of the Meskwaki Casino. The August rate was 14-point-6 percent in Tama County, highest in the state, and has been high since June following the casino’s closing. The meatpacking plant in Tama reopened, but that only means a couple of hundred jobs and Erickson says it hasn’t had much impact yet on the unemployment numbers. Erickson says until the casino closed, Tama County’s numbers were comparable with counties around the state. A year ago in August, the jobless rate in Tama County was three-point-7 percent, earlier this year it was around five-percent, showing a typical seasonal trend of winter joblessness, but in May it was around 3-point-3 and she says it “would probably settle down” to that same figure. That would depend on the casino reopening, returning 13-hundred people to jobs they lost when the doors closed last spring.
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