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      Unemployment numbers steady, some decline

      Members for the business community are responding to the recent numbers released by Iowa Workforce Development concerning the unemployment rate for Ottumwa and Wapello County.

      While Iowaâ??s latest unemployment rate is unchanged from December, the highest unemployment rate in the state is located in southeast Iowa.

      Iowa recorded a 4.9 percent jobless rate in December, far below the nationwide rate of 7.8 percent.

      However, Lee County continues to see an unemployment rate above the national average of more than 9 percent. Appanoose County is also reporting a high unemployment rate of 7.7 percent.

      In Wapello County, the unemployment rate is down from December of 2011 to just under 7 percent; and leaders say things are starting to level out and stabilize, which means the economy is moving in the right direction.

      â??After a number of years of seeing those unemployment number going up not only here, not only throughout the state, but throughout the country; we are beginning to see that stabilize now, which is a good thing,â?? said David Barajas, Executive Director of the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation. â??I think that by continuing to work here, with our businesses, we really are emphasizing businesses retention and expansion.â??

      For three other southeast Iowa counties, the unemployment picture did not change much. Davis Countyâ??s unemployment rate rose slightly from the previous year to 6.7 percent. Jefferson Countyâ??s unemployment rates remains at 6.5 percent and Van Buren Countyâ??s unemployment rate rose to more than 7 percent. Click here to view the state wide map for December 2012