CBJ Editorial 

While COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, we are heartened that Iowa’s unemployment rate continues to improve.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in September, down from 6% in August, Iowa Workforce Development announced last week.

The number of unemployed Iowans declined to 76,600 in September. Unemployment in the state peaked in April at 11%, or about 188,000 unemployed Iowans at the height of pandemic fall-out.

“September is the fifth consecutive month we have seen a drop in unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic and peak unemployment in April,” said IWD Director Beth Townsend in a release.

While many workers and business owners are still struggling, we are pleased to see that government and private enterprise are continuing to work together to help move our economy forward.

Frontier Co-op continues its success

Frontier Co-op is one of the region’s largest privately held and most progressive businesses, yet remains under the radar for most citizens, because it is headquartered in rural Norway, and sells primarily at the wholesale level in the booming natural foods segment.

Frontier Co-op was awarded $300,462 in state incentives recently for a $7.3-million expansion project that is expected to create 24 jobs in Benton County.

To meet an expected increase in demand for its Frontier Co-op and Simply Organic herbs and spice brands, Frontier plans to add bottling lines and fillers, as well as expand a warehouse by 22,000 square feet. Four of the new jobs will meet a wage threshold of $27.84 an hour, qualifying the project for state tax incentives under the High Quality Jobs Program.

“We continue to face unprecedented demand for our products and are grateful for the opportunity to keep expanding in Benton County,” CEO Tony Bedard said in a release.

Its success is because of its hardworking, small town approach rather than in spite of it; similar to the success of Clickstop in Urbana.

The co-op already employs more than 600 employees at its Norway, Urbana, Belle Plaine and North Liberty locations.

DeWitte’s journalism

The CBJ’s Senior Business Reporter Dave DeWitte retired from the CBJ last week after nearly 40 years in journalism.

A University of Iowa graduate who grew up in Marion, Mr. DeWitte was one of the most experienced business reporters in Iowa. He will be missed by readers and business executives who appreciated his attention to detail and exhaustive research.

His departure is disappointing not only because of the quantity and quality of his reporting, but because he is part  of a dying breed of journalist – one who strives to present the facts and keep themselves and their opinions out of the news.

We wish him the best in retirement. CBJ