Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carroll County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent for the month of October, the lowest it has been since May when the rate stood at 3.7 percent, according to figures from Iowa Workforce Development.

The rate decreased in Carroll County from 4.1 percent in September.

The eight counties in Iowa with rates below 4 percent in October are all west of Interstate 35 — with a five-county cluster of low unemployment around Carroll.

Jim Gossett, executive director of the Carroll Area Development Corp., said the rate technically means Carroll is at or below full employment, widely regarded by economists as 5 percent, the level at which all people who want a job have one.

The unemployment rate is favorable when compared to the national average of 9 percent for October and the state average of 6 percent for the month.

Gossett noted the relatively low rate poses challenging with recruiting businesses as there are questions about available labor. But a lower rate is preferable to the alternative, he said.

The CADC’s Carroll County Jobs Report showed that non-farm positions increased from 11,410 in October of 2010 to 11,890 in October 2011. Non-farm jobs had hit a recent low of 11,330 in February 2010.

During the current recession the highest Carroll County’s unemployment rate has climbed is 5.2 percent — in April a2010.

Carroll County’s unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in October was the tied for sixth-lowest in the state with Sac County and Crawford County.

Harrison County had a 3.8 percent rate, and Shelby County had one of 3.6 percent for October.

Lyon County’s rate of 2.7 percent was the lowest in the state, as it has been for some time following the construction of a casino there.