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THIS WEEK: Your job search made easier

Workers are in the driver's seat, but are you ready for a better job?

DES MOINES, Iowa — The unemployment rate in the Illinois Quad Cities is still above the national and state levels.

New numbers put the Illinois Quad Cities metro area (Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties) jobless rate at 4.8%, just a tenth higher than the statewide number.

In eastern Iowa, the numbers are even better:

  • 3.8% in Scott County
  • 3.6% in Muscatine County
  • 4.0% in Clinton County
  • 4.9% in Des Moines County

Across the area, statistics put today's unemployment rate near the same levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"Employees are absolutely in the driver's seat," said Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend on "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens".

But it's more than just numbers.

The American workforce has changed, more flexibility is being demanded, and lower paying positions are often going unfilled.

"Employers know there is a tight labor market and in order to attract and retain their top talent, they're being more flexible," said Monster.com career expert Vicki Salemi.

The jobs available depend on where you live.

In March, Iowa reported it had lost 2,800 hospitality jobs and gained 1,900 positions in trade, transportation, and utility. 

But Illinois reported the complete opposite with 3500 hospitality jobs gained and 3,500 transportation jobs lost.

But those are just two sectors of the employment picture.

And Iowa Workforce is positioning itself to give training to people looking to make big changes.

"If you have an interest in changing occupations or upscaling, there are programs available, there are employers who are willing to train you, while you work, I mean this is the time to really figure out a career path," Townsend said.

You can listen to our entire interview with Iowa Workforce's Beth Townsend on THE CITIES PODCAST.

Pew Research just released its survey of why U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021.

Pay and no job advancement were by far the biggest reasons given.

Disrespect, child care and job flexibility were at the top of the list for other people.

"We've seen a lot of employers who have gone to four-day work weeks or who have changed up the way they do their shifts to make it easier for people to work when they're available to work."

You can watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" Sunday mornings at 10 on WQAD News 8.

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