Unemployment rate continues to rise in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Unemployment rate continues to rise in Iowa

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by Bryan Goettel

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa's December unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent according to a report out Tuesday from Iowa Workforce Development.

That's up from 4.3 percent in November... and nearly a full percentage point higher than a year ago.

In December, more than 77,000 Iowans were out of work.  That's the highest number of unemployed Iowans in more than 21 years... since November 1987.

Iowa Workforce Development says we're seeing the worst job losses right now.

Those numbers are right in line with what staff is experiencing at the Iowa Workforce Center in Iowa city. Phones are ringing almost non-stop. And desperate times are calling for desperate measures.

For many, it's the American dream. Running your own business.

"I currently own a cleaning company here in Iowa City/Coralville area," said Stephanie Wieland. 

Wieland has been self-employed most of her life. But she says business has never been as slow as it is right now.

"The economy's gotten a lot tigther and a lot of people aren't spending money on personal things like having cleaning done," said Wieland. 

So Wieland has come to the Iowa Workforce Center. Like many other Iowans, she is quickly learning that finding work can become a job of its own.

"I just found out by going in there and getting on the computer," said Wieland. "The amount of jobs aren't there that I thought would be there."

"We were not quite prepared for the number of people coming through the doors to be honest with you," said Brenda Dodge, manager at the Iowa Workforce Center in Iowa City.

Traffic at the center shot up fifty percent last month compared to a typical December.

"In December, we had thirty, forty, fifty people coming through the door at one time, all wanting to file for benefits," said Dodge.

Wieland has lived in the Iowa City area all 45 years of her life.

"The older I get the harder it is to find work," Wieland said.

She is facing the harsh reality that keeping the dream alive might just mean leaving home.

"You just have to do what you have to do to pay all the bills," said Wieland. "That's all there is to it."

Wieland says she's mainly looking at manual labor jobs in Northeast Iowa. When asked where she saw herself a year from now, she paused and said "I'm not sure, but hopefully happy and content in whatever it is."

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel 

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