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Waterloo-Cedar Falls only area not to see rise in unemployment

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The Waterloo-Cedar Falls district was the only metropolitan area in the nation that didn’t see an increase in unemployment in January compared with January 2008, the Associated Press reported.

According to a Labor Department report released yesterday, the unemployment rate rose in the rest of the 371 metropolitan areas, compared with an increase in unemployment in 234 metro areas a year ago.

California was among the hardest hit, with 10 of the 14 areas with unemployment rates above 15 percent located within the state. Among the 49 largest cities, the Detroit area had the highest unemployment rate at 13 percent, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., at 11.8 percent. Charlotte, N.C., home of Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp., had the biggest increase among large cities, with its unemployment rate nearly doubling to 10.5 percent from 5.3 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January compared with 4.8 percent in Iowa.

Economic development directors in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls region attributed their success to Deere & Co., which employs about 5,100 people in Waterloo, the area’s relative economic isolation and an upswing from last summer’s flooding.

“By no way would we want (flooding) to happen again, but I think some of the federal money that’s been pumped into our community has actually helped some of the housing industry,” said Ron Gaines, director of development services in Cedar Falls.

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