Following months of steady increases, the average home sales price dipped less than 1% in March, to $244,483. The quarterly average of $245,184 was nearly 8% higher than the three-month norm last year.

Employment numbers and job availability stimulated discussion among those attending the Zoom meeting Thursday on Ingham’s findings.

The number of people holding jobs in March totaled 123,900, an estimated 700 more than were working in March last year, when the pandemic began to pick up steam. Collins, who presented Ingham’s findings via Zoom, said 2020 was shaping up to become a record-shattering year economically.

The jobless rate, said Ingham, continues to fall slowly and stood at 6.1% in March compared to 4.7% in March last year. He said “unemployment rate movements typically lag behind the payroll employment numbers, and we should see improvements in both as the year progresses.”

Sam Castillo III, whose family owns La Fiesta restaurant and operates a bar and pizza parlor at the Union Hall food hall downtown, said finding and keeping employees remains among his top challenges.

“We are seeing a shortage of manpower,” he said. “We have people who don’t show up for interviews, or leave during the middle of a shift, knowing they can find a computer somewhere and apply for unemployment with a click.”

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – The five airlines serving the Eastern Iowa Airport and Signature Flight Support met with candidates looking for jobs today.

Maureen Loboda was hired within the first hour of today’s job fair. But she had been waiting to get hired with the airlines since last June, when she retired, and after the pandemic hit the travel industry.

She likes working with people.

“Yes, because that’s the fun part of working,” Loboda said, “It makes things more interesting.”

For Benjamin Ofuasia, the draw was working with the airplanes.

“I’m really looking for anything but I’ll learn anything while I’m here, even if I’m not working on maintenance,” Ofuasia said.

The job fair comes as the airport is reporting a burst in spring travel, although it doesn’t compare to the record-breaking travel seasons the airport had for three years prior to the pandemic.

“Leisure travel has been the primary travel that has rebounded quickly. Business travel is slow, but coming back up,” said Pam Hinman, director of marketing and communications for the airport.

For those with the jobs to offer with the airlines and flight services, they say it was the biggest turn-out they’ve seen in the last five years.

That’s good news for them, and just in time.

“There are a lot of part-time positions open and typically there’s a lot of turnover anyway, so this coincides with some normal turnover but also because travel is picking up,” Hinman said.

Hinman says the travel industry is not out of the woods yet, but it’s a lot further than it was last year.

If you missed the job fair today, you can still get your application in by sending a resume to [email protected]