WATERLOO — The Cedar Valley continues to enjoy its lowest unemployment rates in 11 years.

Figures released by Iowa Workforce Development show unemployment in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan statistical area, which includes Black Hawk, Bremer and Grundy counties, was 3.2 percent for December. It was the lowest December unemployment rate locally since December 2007, state officials said.

Average unemployment for the fourth quarter of calendar year 2017 was 2.9 percent, the lowest in at least five years. While the unemployment is low, the total work force continues to decline — 87,500 from 90,000 a year ago.

While the number of unemployed was down 1,100, total employment was down 1,500, a net loss of 400 jobs, Workforce Development officials said. “Most notably a loss of 700 jobs in trade, transportation and warehousing. Retail trade alone has pared 1,000 jobs from one year ago. Manufacturing added 200 jobs. Educational and health services added 300 jobs and professional and business services gained 100 jobs.”

Waterloo-Cedar Falls matched Cedar Rapids with the highest unemployment rate of the metropolitan statistical areas.

December jobless rates for Northeast Iowa counties, with the December 2016 rates in parentheses, are: Benton, 3.2 (3.7); Black Hawk, 3.4 (4.5); Bremer, 2.5 (3.7); Buchanan, 2.9 (3.8); Butler, 3.4 (4.9); Chickasaw, 3.3 (4.4); Delaware, 2.4 (3.7); Fayette, 3.7 (4.6); Floyd, 3.8 (3.9); Franklin, 2.6 (3.8); Grundy, 2.9 (3.7); Hardin, 3.2 (4.1); Howard, 2.6 (3.7); Mitchell, 1.8 (2.2); Tama, 3.6 (4.6); and Winneshiek, 2.9 (3.8).

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