MASON CITY, Iowa – Unemployment numbers are something many of us keep a close eye on, especially those of us who might be out of work.
Whether you’re on Wall Street, or in the Midwest, unemployment numbers matter. Over the last six months, the U.S. has added more than 200,000 jobs to the workforce, and while this is a promising sign, people in our area say they are still struggling to find work.
As a military veteran, Ashley Nelson tells us that adapting to civilian life has been a challenge, but that finding a job now that she’s back has been even harder. Nelson is one of the many people using unemployment resources in our area, and she says without them, finding a job would be downright impossible
“It’s like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” she says, and the weight will just keep coming. Nelson met with the folks at IowaWORKS who helped her reorganize and rewrite her resume. We caught up with her following her meeting, and she tells us she finally knows what her first step will be.
“I’m going to start to look for part time jobs, basically anywhere,” she says, “preferably, in welding so that I can go to school at the same time.”
Her confidence in moving forward might have something to do with where she lives. Both Iowa and Minnesota have unemployment rates sitting at 4.5 percent, while the country’s unemployment rate is higher at 6.5.
Looking beyond these numbers and focusing on the future is exactly what Marla Loecke does on a day-to-day basis. She works as the regional operations manager for IowaWORKS and tells us that her daily task is to work with individuals, like Nelson, and help them find their strengths so they can use that to find a job.
Loecke tells us that Nelson is in good hands. She says that IowaWORKS has “a priority of services with veterans from the area,” and that they will help with anything they can to give back to service men and women.
For the month of June, Iowa saw spikes in the education and health care sector, as well as smaller spikes in the construction sector.