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WATERLOO -- The November unemployment rate provided the Cedar Valley a reason to give thanks.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area recorded its lowest November unemployment in 17 years, according to figures provided by Iowa Workforce Development.

The 2.9 percent jobless rate recorded for November was the lowest since 2.6 percent in November of 2000, Workforce Development officials said.

It is lower than the 3.8 percent jobless rate recorded for the same month a year ago. The October jobless rate was 2.6 percent.

However, while the unemployment rates drop, so too does the labor force. The resident civilian labor force was 88,100 compared with 90,300 in November 2016 and 86,100 in October.

While there were gains in manufacturing jobs from a year ago, those were partially offset by losses in trade, transportation and warehousing and retail trade. Educational and health services and professional and business services each reported gains.

The 2.9 percent unemployment rate for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan statistical area -- which includes Black Hawk, Bremer and Grundy counties -- matched the state's unemployment rate and was tied with Cedar Rapids for the highest of the metropolitan areas tracked by Iowa, which ranged down to 1.5 percent in Ames.

November jobless rates for Northeast Iowa counties, with the November 2016 rates in parentheses, are: Benton, 2.7 (2.9); Black Hawk, 3.1 (4.0); Bremer, 2.1 (3.2); Buchanan, 2.4 (3.2); Buchanan, 2.4 (3.2); Butler, 2.6 (3.7); Chickasaw, 2.4 (3.2); Delaware, 1.8 (3.0); Fayette, 2.9 (3.7); Franklin, 2.0 (2.9); Grundy, 2.4 (2.8); Hardin, 2.8 (3.4); Howard, 2.3 (2.6); Mitchell, 1.7 (1.9); Tama, 2.5 (3.2); and Winneshiek 2.0 (2.3).

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