Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.4 percent in February - a number that has not budged since last summer.
"Despite the brutal winter we have had the past two months, the unemployment rate remains steady at 2.4 percent," said Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend in a release, noting the rate has been unchanged since June 2018. "In even more good news, the biggest segment of Iowans who found employment in February are those who have been out of the workforce for more than 12 months." 
Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in February, from 4 percent in January. 
Manufacturing continued to lead all sectors in job growth in the state (+8,400), with other gains coming in professional and business services (+600) and construction (+400). 

On a less positive note, Iowa establishments cut 5,500 non-farm jobs - the first monthly drop since September - in a loss state officials attributed to "unusually cold and forbidding winter weather." The losses came mostly in the leisure and hospitality sector, as well as in government. Compared to last year, government is down 1,900 jobs, mostly due to cutbacks at the state level.

State officials said they expected employment numbers to rebound in March with better weather and regional basketball tournaments in the Des Moines area. 
A chart showing the percentage of Cedar Rapids residents who ranked the city as "good" or higher for aging in place. CREDIT AARP
With nine in 10 residents aged 50 and up rating the city as "good" or better for aging in place, Cedar Rapids is set to become AARP's next "age-friendly city" in Iowa. 
In its survey of 400 Cedar Rapids residents, the association also found that 88 percent of respondents said aging in their own homes is either "very" or "extremely" important to them. 
"City leaders deserve a great deal of credit for their vision and the work that has already been put in since the flood to make the community more age-friendly," said Ro Foege, a Cedar Rapids resident and AARP Iowa Executive Council member, in a release. "Our goal is to help the community continue this positive momentum and ensure that the needs and interests of the 50-plus are addressed through all future planning efforts."

The organization conducted the survey in late 2018 and early 2019 as part of its Livable Communities initiative to gauge residents' opinions on the city's livability. The survey covered a variety of topics of interest to residents as they age in place in the community, including the condition of streets and sidewalks, access to walking and biking trails, home modifications, public parks, public transportation, health and physical fitness, and more.
AARP Iowa will release the full results of the survey at a community forum on April 4 at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Library from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson will lead the discussion, soliciting residents' perspectives on the livability of Cedar Rapids and how AARP can support local efforts to improve and support the community.

The forum is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP by calling (877) 926-8300 or register online at A light lunch will be served.
General Mills shares have been on the rise this week after reporting better-than-expected earnings in the third quarter and upgrading its full-year outlook.
The Minnesota-based food giant with operations in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday posted a third-quarter profit of $446.8 million, or 74 cents per share. That beat Wall Street analysts' expectations of 69 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research, and has lifted the company's stock more than 6 percent through this morning.
Net sales grew 8.1 percent to $4.2 billion, primarily driven by the addition of pet food brand Blue Buffalo, while sales in its North America Retail segment were flat from the prior year. The company reported growth in its cereal and U.S. meals and baking units, which were offset by declines in its U.S. snacks and yogurt units. Its convenience store and food service segments - including frozen meals, snacks and frozen baked goods - saw net sales growth of 3 percent.
Despite the flat North American Retail performance, the segment saw its operating profit grow 12 percent, to $582 million, driven by cost savings initiatives, lower SG&A expenses and price increases.
The company also said it expects its pet food segment to "accelerate rapidly in the fourth quarter" as it doubles distribution, and that it now expects its full-year earnings to be flat to up 1 percent. It had previously said its earnings could decline by as much as 3 percent.
" We had a strong third quarter, with positive organic sales growth and significant operating margin expansion," General Mills Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening said in a press release. "For the full year, we now expect adjusted diluted EPS and free cash flow conversion will exceed our initial targets, net sales will finish toward the lower end of our guidance range, and adjusted operating profit will finish toward the higher end of the range."

UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids. CREDIT UNITYPOINT 
UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids has received the highest rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
CMS uses metrics from the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program and Hospital Outpatient Quality Report Program to determine star ratings for more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide. Those ratings are based on hospital performance in seven different categories, including mortality, readmissions, safety of care, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and efficient use of medical imaging.

St. Luke's is one of only seven hospitals in Iowa to receive a five-star rating from CMS. In the Corridor, Mercy Medical and Mercy Iowa City also received five-star ratings. Nationally, only about 7 percent of  hospitals evaluated received top marks.  

The Corridor Corporate Games, a project of the Iowa Sports Foundation, has announced company divisions for the inaugural year of competition.

Thirty-two companies will compete in three divisions, grouped together by general company size. Points are awarded throughout the competition based on sport/event placing, participation and volunteerism.

"The Corridor Corporate Games will be a great way for local businesses and organizations to support health and wellness through a friendly competition." said Chuck Long, CEO of the Corridor Corporate Games, in a release. "Our first year of competition is going to be a great one."

The top companies in each division will receive recognition, with the winning company in each division receiving the "coveted Corporate Games Cup" during Coralville's FRYfest in August.

Employees of participating companies can begin declaring for events on April 2. Competition will begin June 1 with the Nature Walk. Follow along this summer at

The 2019 Corridor Corporate Games companies are as follows:

Division 1:  Alliant Energy;  City of Cedar Rapids;  City of Iowa City;  CRST International;  Grinnell Mutual;  Johnson County, Iowa;  The University of Iowa;  Transamerica

Division 2:  Collins Community Credit Union;  Grant Wood AEA;  Hills Bank & Trust;  MediRevv;  Raining Rose;  U.S. Bank;  UFG Insurance;  University of Iowa Community Credit Union;  Van Meter Inc.

Division 3:  Billion Auto;  CCR;  Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance;  CIVCO Medical Solutions;  Lil' Drug Store Products;  Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative;  OPN Architects;  Randy's Flooring; Shive-Hattery;  Shuttleworth & Ingersoll;  Steindler Orthopedic Clinic;  Think Iowa City/Iowa City Area Chamber/ICAD/Xtream Arena
March 25
Help Defend Yourself Online and In-Person, by Wells Fargo Advisors, 6-7 p.m., Cedar Rapids Public Library, Beems Auditorium, 450 Fifth Ave. SE. Financial advisors Kate Varcoe and Amy Lee will discuss the warning signs of financial fraud, how vulnerable you are to identity theft and how to protect yourself. Sgt. Laura Faircloth, of the Cedar Rapids Police Department, will be the guest speaker. Free. For more information, call (319) 365-8651.

March 27
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join for community connections, free coffee, and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit

Sharpen Your Skills: Using Reference USA and Lynda, by Marion Chamber of Commerce, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave., Marion. Experts from the Marion Public Library will demonstrate how to use Reference USA, a mailing database with more than 54 million businesses, and Lynda, a resource library with videos on thousands of business topics. Free. For more, visit

1 Million Cups, by 1MC Iowa City, 9-10 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, free coffee, and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit

Dealing with Difficult People, by Iowa Quality Center, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa, 2490 Crosspark Road, Coralville. Learn how to address this critical HR issue within your team or organization. Free. To register, visit
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Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
When the waters of the Missouri River retreat back into their banks in western Iowa, countless communities will need all the help they can get. And leaders in Cedar Rapids say they are ready to answer the call. A decade ago, the Cedar River invaded several square miles of the city, destroying hundreds of businesses, thousands of homes and crippling nearly all city services. Many now celebrate all that was saved and rebuilt since then, but Cedar Rapids didn't do it alone. Back then, city leaders facing years of recovery and rebuilding found a kindred spirit in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 1997, Grand Forks suffered devastating flooding and, at the height of the water's destruction, fire destroyed its downtown district. It wasn't easy, but the city rebuilt and protected itself from another disaster. "They were pretty open with us," says Sandi Fowler, deputy city manager for the city of Cedar Rapids. "I think that helped us." Since then, Ms. Fowler and other city officials have lent their expertise to other flooded towns like Nashville and Boulder, Colorado. They've also assisted in other disasters, including the Marshalltown tornado and the devastating wildfires in San Jose, California. "Sometimes they don't know the questions to ask - we learn where they're at, we tell them what we know, promise to keep in touch." Ms. Fowler said. 

A bill establishing a children's mental health system in Iowa cleared the Iowa House Thursday, but not without questions from lawmakers over a key sticking point: funding.  The  proposal  tasks the 14-county regions that oversee the adult mental health system to implement certain services for children, including a 24-hour crisis hotline for parents desperate for help for their children and crisis residential treatment options. The goal of the bill is to provide mental health care for all children in Iowa regardless of where they live or economic background.  "We are starting a foundation for children's mental in Iowa for every child across the state to access equal services," said Rep. Joel Fry, R-Osceola, who managed the bill.  The proposal received bipartisan support, passing out of the Iowa House Thursday on a 83-14 vote. It now moves to the Iowa Senate, where it's expected to pass. Some House Democrats voted against the bill, citing lack of sustainable funding.

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

High pressure is taking control for the next two days meaning plentiful sunshine and warming temperatures. The only thing keeping temperatures in check today will be a north wind, otherwise the late-March sun will warm temperatures into the low 50s south of Highway 20. It will be clear and cool again tonight with temperatures moving back into the 20s. There is a chance  the Northern Lights will make an appearance Friday night , and if they do, the weather will be perfect.  Saturday remains the best day of the week. High pressure will shift to the east, switching winds to the south ,which will send temperatures into the low to mid-50s under mostly sunny skies. Clouds will start to move in Saturday evening as moisture increases ahead of the next system. Rain showers begin late Saturday night and through early Sunday morning with periods of rain through the day before ending Sunday night.