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Capitol Notebook: Iowa unemployment rate falls
Also, governor signs butchery grant bill
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau
May. 18, 2023 6:29 pm
Iowa’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in April, down to 2.7 percent from 2.8 percent in March.
The drop continues a downward trend for the unemployment rate from 3.1 percent in the fall of last year. The national unemployment rate for March was 3.4 percent.
"Iowa continues to have a strong labor market, and fantastic opportunities remain for those seeking jobs,” Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in a news release.
The labor force added 4,300 new workers in April, and the number of Iowans with jobs increased by 5,800 to 1.68 million.
Nearly 47,000 people are unemployed in the state, while the Iowa Workforce Development website lists 71,600 job openings.
Reynolds signs butchery grant bill
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 185 into law on Thursday, expanding eligibility for a state fund that provides grants to small butcheries and meat processors.
The law will allow a butchery with up to 75 employees to take advantage of the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Fund, increasing the threshold from 50 employees.
State lawmakers devoted $1 million to the fund for the upcoming fiscal year.
According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the fund can be used to expand, refurbish or establish a new small-scale meat processing business, custom locker or mobile slaughter unit.
Businesses also can use the money to purchase equipment.
Grants OK’d for low-income legal assistance
The Iowa Supreme Court approved $681,345 in grants to nonprofit programs that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans.
The court awarded grants to 11 organizations that assist low-income Iowans with civil legal problems such as divorce, domestic abuse, unsafe housing and illegal evictions.
Organizations awarded grant funding include Iowa Legal Aid, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Kids First Law Center in Cedar Rapids.
Grant dollars are generated from interest earned on pooled trust accounts held by Iowa lawyers. Lawyers are required to deposit clients' funds the lawyers hold in interest-bearing accounts.
Grant applications are reviewed by a seven-member commission that makes recommendations to the Iowa Supreme Court.