As our nation observes the Thanksgiving holiday, members of our editorial board offer five reasons, in no specific order, why we ourselves -- as Siouxlanders and Americans -- are thankful this year.
Health care providers
Since the pandemic struck over nine months ago, doctors, nurses, lab technicians, support staff, first responders and other dedicated professionals have been on the front lines of the seemingly endless battle against COVID-19. In metro Sioux City, which has had one of the nation's highest number of positive COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis, there are hundreds of health care workers who richly deserve our thanks.
These everyday heroes have been working around the clock, treating and comforting patients sick with the deadly virus. Because they're in close contact with their patients, providers are constantly in danger of catching the virus themselves, and potentially bringing it home to their loved ones. But it's a risk they're willingly to accept due to their calling for caring for others.
The raging pandemic and subsequent government orders forced scores of businesses to temporarily shut down, and millions of U.S. workers remain unemployed. The economy in Siouxland continues to recover and be a bright spot nationally.
Nebraska retained its status last month as the state with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, falling to 3 percent, less than half the national rate of 6.9%, according to data released Friday. Iowa and South Dakota had the third-lowest rate in the nation at 3.6%, behind only Nebraska and Vermont.
Metro Sioux City's jobless rate fell to 2.8 percent in October, tied with Iowa City for the lowest among the state's largest cities. Adding 800 non-farm jobs since September, Sioux City's employment reached a level comparable to the pre-COVID period in March, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
Due to rising COVID-19 cases, many Americans have canceled their family gatherings for Thanksgiving. But whether you're sitting down for dinner today with loved ones or just by yourself, we should all take a moment to remember the individuals who produced the food on our tables.
Today, the average U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in our country and abroad. No region of the country appreciates the important role farmers and agri-businesses play in our nation's economy more than we do. In Iowa, for example, agriculture and its related industries pump $121.1 billion a year into the state's economy and create 1 out of every 5 jobs in the state, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.
With the pandemic regularly playing havoc with schedules for schools, teachers, paraeducators and administrators are facing a new set of challenges to educate our nation's young people. navigating new ways of instruction and technology.
With outbreaks forcing many schools to switch to hybrid or virtual forms of instruction, educators have had to navigate new technology and new ways of delivering the curriculum. Many report feeling overwhelmed having to teach both students remotely and those sitting in their classrooms. They're also meeting emotional needs stemming from the pandemic, which include anxiety, grief and trauma. In some cases, they're comforting students dealing with the deaths of loved ones caused by the virus or separation from family members and friends due to health restrictions.
Women and men in armed forces
Members of our armed forces - the world's finest - and their families, make countless sacrifices for us. Today, and every day, we should give thanks to our servicemen and women who stand guard, around the clock, over our nation's security and freedoms.
In particular, remember the tens of thousands of service personnel who this Thanksgiving holiday are deployed far from home in dozens of countries across the globe.