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Iowa County Unemployment Rate

IOWA COUNTY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--With the exception of an occasional bump, Iowas unemployment rate has fallen steadily from a year ago.

There is one Eastern Iowa County though that's not keeping up with that trend.

Only four Iowa counties saw a year-to-year increase in unemployment and Iowa County was the only one on this side of the state.

Local developers say they might know what the problem is and what can be done to turn it around.

For folks at Fireside Winery in Iowa County, summer is good for business.

"We're seeing a lot of people coming out on our Friday nights through the weekends, we're seeing a lot of travelers coming through during the weekdays," said Brittany Blunk of Fireside Winery.

It's also a good time to make more hires.

"We've been hiring more people this summer. We've seen an influx of customers which is allowing us then to obviously hire more people from the area to help staff the winery," she said.

Fireside is one the few local businesses in Iowa County that hires a size able full and part-time staff.

Most of the small businesses in Williamsburg Square say they either run their own shop or hire a couple employees, but there are some larger companies in the county like Kinze manufacturing, Tanger Outlet Mall and "the Whirlpool appliance in the Amana colonies," adds Craig Hamilton of the Iowa County Economic Development Comission.

When those large companies close though, it affects more people.

Quad Graphics was one of those big employers until they closed in March. 

The Iowa County Economic Development Commission says that might be why the county's unemployment rate increased this year.

"We had a layoff of a 138 people at the quad graphics printing plant in Marengo," Hamilton said. 

The commission is working for the economic betterment of Iowa County.

"We work with existing businesses to help them expand. We work with any leads that are generated from outside the area to try to find opportunities within Iowa County for new business to come in," he said.

Hamilton says aside from the Quad Graphics closure, what they do works and Iowa County is still doing well economically.

Back at fireside, they too want to help the county's economy.

"We want to keep seeing customers come out. We have so much fun we hope to keep adding staff members," Blunk said.

The Economic Development Commission says they are working to get another company to fill the vacant building now that Quad Graphics is gone.

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