Bremer Co. bucking unemployment trends - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bremer Co. bucking unemployment trends


Unemployment remains a major challenge nationwide. Iowa's unemployement rate has stayed lower than the national average during the recession, at six percent or less.

But in one eastern Iowa county--it's even lower: under four percent.

Carmi Flavor and Fragrance Company is building a 34,000 square foot warehouse in Waverly's Northwest Industrial Park.

"We've been successful because we're able to compete. We're able to do things other people aren't willing to do or cannot actually do it in the field that we're in," said Eliot Carmi with Carmi Flavor & Fragrance Co.

Groundbreakings and business expansions are becoming a common site in Bremer County, which has weathered the tough economy.

"Waverly's been very supportive, very helpful. The state of Iowa's been very helpful," Carmi said.

Across town, Peoples Insurance is growing its business, too. A $500,000 addition is being constructed. When its completed, the company will be able to double in size, adding 40 jobs.

"Basically, we just found a niche in the insurance industry. It's important that my brothers and I have worked together, and it just really took off. We found the right people to help bring other people on and have just went with it," said Josh Whitinger of Peoples Insurance Agency.

The city's thrilled companies continue to find this area a good place to locate new businesses and expand existing ones, and gives credit to strong leadership coupled with good available tax incentives.

"Our mayor and city council have done a great job of promoting growth within this area. When a business sees there's an opportunity for growth, that gets the interest of another business. It kind of almost is that domino effect where once somebody goes, somebody else is going to take that challenge and build also," said Brent Matthias, Waverly Area Economic Development executive director.

Now Bremer County's working on new initiatives to recruit workers to fill jobs created by growing businesses.

Waverly's economic status could even play a part in the upcoming presidential election, where jobs and the economy are sure to be key issues. That's because experts have identified Bremer County as one of about half-dozen "swing counties" in Iowa that could ultimately determine the election's outcome.

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