Local Iowa county unemployment rates outpacing 2020, exceeding statewide average

Data released Tuesday by Iowa Workforce Development showed an uptick in unemployment rates in multiple local counties.

Dubuque County had a jobless rate of 5.1% in February, up from 3.5% during the same month the previous year.

Similar trends were evident in surrounding counties: In Jackson County, unemployment was 6.2% in February, up from 4.5% in February 2020; in Jones County, it was 5.8%, up from 4.7%; in Delaware County, 4.3%, compared to 3.1%; and in Clayton County, 7.1% compared to 6.4%.

All 99 Iowa counties reported a February 2021 jobless rate that exceeded the unemployment rate from February 2020. However, the extent of local job losses outpaced the state as a whole.

All five local counties had a February unemployment rate that exceeded the statewide rate of 3.6%. The national unemployment rate in February was 6.2%.

Of the seven metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Iowa Workforce Development, Dubuque County has the second-highest unemployment percentage. It was exceeded only by Cedar Rapids, which had a 5.2% jobless rate.

State data placed the overall, nonfarm employment in Dubuque County at 57,000 in February, which was identical to the figure from the previous month. Employment in Dubuque County has dropped by 3,400 compared to February 2020, a decrease of 5.6%.

A breakdown of these job losses showed that 2,500 positions were shed in the private services sector, 600 jobs were slashed in goods-producing industries, and 300 jobs were cut in local government.

County-specific unemployment data for February in Wisconsin and Illinois has not been released yet. Illinois reported a statewide unemployment rate of 7.4% in February, while Wisconsin’s stood at 3.8%.