Iowa’s unemployment rate rose in December. Ann Wagner, a labor market analyst for the Iowa Workforce Development agency, says the jobless rate rose to four-point-four percent — up two-tenths of a percent from November. Wagner says job growth was “sluggish” in December.Wagner says there was a “spark of activity” in Iowa’s economy and job growth in August, September and October, but the past couple of months there’s been a slow down.Wagner says nationally, experts had expected about 157-thousand jobs to be created in December. It turned out there were only a thousand new jobs in the U.S. last month.Some economists have dubbed this the “jobless” recovery. Wagner says there was some definite improvement in 2003, as there was slow, gradual healing in the manufacturing industry and there weren’t the volume of layoffs that were seen in 2001 and 2002. But she says economic recovery seems to be a “very slow, tedious process.”