Seaboard Triumph Foods

Metro Sioux City's unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent in November, up from 2.5 percent in October, which was about a month after the 1,100-worker Seaboard Triumph Foods pork plant began production. The latest jobless rate is one of the lowest in the metro since the tail end of Gateway's boom in the late 1990s.

Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY — After starting the year at 4.1 percent, unemployment in metro Sioux City could finish in 2017 at lows not seen since the 1990s.

In November, the jobless rate in the Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA, was 2.8 percent, a slight dip from the year's low of 2.5 percent set in October, according to data released Wednesday by Iowa Workforce Development.

While the rate ticked up last month, the number of non-farm jobs in the MSA grew by 300 from October to November, according to the report.

The largest gains were 100 each in manufacturing and professional and business services, and 200 in service-providing industries. Government pared 200 jobs and trade, transportation and warehousing shed 100 jobs.

Overall, area employment is 100 jobs above what it was a year ago.

Sioux City MSA is defined as Woodbury and Plymouth counties in Iowa, Dakota and Dixon counties in Nebraska, and Union County in South Dakota.

The latest economic surge has been sparked by the opening of the Seaboard Triumph Foods pork plant in Sioux City's Bridgeport West Business Park. The $301 million plant, which began slaughtering hogs in early September, reached its goal of about 1,100 workers for a single shift. A second shift is scheduled to begin next year, which will nearly double plant employment.

About 2,500 people were counted as unemployed in the Sioux City MSA in November, an increase of 200 from the previous month, according to state data. Total non-farm employment rose from 88,300 to 88,600.

In the past, local economic development leaders noted a near-record low unemployment rate presents a bit of a mixed bag, especially in a region where so many employers are prospering and increasing the size of their workforce.

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