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Local

Jasper ranked as distressed county according to laborshed report

Jasper County is considered a distressed county, according to a new laborshed report released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Jasper County, which falls into laborshed 81, ranked 39th in wages with an average of $15.78 per hour. What categorizes Jasper County as a distressed county is the unemployment rate over a five-year period and most recent 12-month period.

Jasper County has the third highest unemployment rate in the state over a five-year period at 7.82 percent. Ranked first is Lee County with Allamakee County ranked second. Jasper County ranks tenth in the 12-month period at 6.43 percent.

Executive Director of the Jasper County Economic Development Corporation Chaz Allen said the average wage according to the new laborshed report in Iowa is $15.65.

“Ten years ago Newton was way above average with the Maytag wages,” Allen said. “Now, we’re average.”

Darrell Sarmento, executive director of Newton Chamber of Commerce, echoed the same sentiment after reviewing the laborshed statistics.

“Considering where we come from, Newton and Jasper County have made great progress,” Sarmento said. “The current numbers are encouraging and hats off to JEDCO and the NDC for their hard work.  We need to continue to nurture the success of our current businesses and attract new ones to Newton and Jasper County.”

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.

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