Jasper County’s unemployment rate went up slightly last month, despite no change in the number of unemployed workers. Iowa Workforce Development says 520 Jasper County residents were looking for jobs in both June and July. But from June to last month, the County lost 430 workers who had jobs. That reduced, by 430, the County’s employed and total labor force numbers for July. So last month, 18-thousand 240 Jasper County residents were working out o a labor force of 18-thousand 760. That moved the County’s unemployment rate from 2.7-percent in June, to 2.8-percent last month. Iowa Workforce Development says there are more than 85-thousand jobs still available in the state. Some say many of those jobs do not pay enough to live on. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend disagrees.

Townsend claims no one is working for minimum wage these days. Historically…she says less than one to two percent of the workforce gets paid minimum wage…and it’s a rate for individuals at entry level positions. Townsend also believes the re-employment case management system has been helping those who have lost jobs, re-enter the workforce.

Iowa’s July unemployment rate hit 2.5-percent. The state rate has fallen for seven consecutive months, and is at its lowest since May of 2019…which was well before COVID. The July unemployment rates for the counties surrounding Jasper are:

1.9-percent in Marion

2.3-percent in Story

2.5-percent in Warren

2.6-percent in Tama

2.7-percent in Poweshiek, Polk, and Mahaska

4.2-percent in Marshall.