Big glass ceiling breaks

Two significant glass ceiling barriers were broken over the past several weeks. First, and most obviously, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female vice president of the United States. Ms. Harris was previously a U.S. Senator from California.

In addition, Janet Yellen continued her gender-breaking accomplishments when she was sworn in as the first female U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on Jan. 26. She had previously been the chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System – the first time a woman has led that powerful institution.

These are just the latest examples in a long line of gender-breaking firsts occurring in America.

Unemployment rate is second lowest

We should be pleased that Iowa’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in December, the second lowest rate in the country, according to KCCI.

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend called the drop, as well as the increase of an additional 22,800 Iowans finding work, “a good sign for Iowa’s economic recovery.”

This comes after a rollercoaster year in 2020 for Iowa’s workforce. The unemployment rate was 2.8% in early 2020 before ballooning to 11% at the height of the pandemic’s economic collapse in April 2020. It has steadily declined since then as state and federal governments implemented various stimulus efforts and vaccines were developed and began rolling out.

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped sharply from 3.8% in November and is only slightly above the 2.8% rate from a year ago.

Unfortunately, the number of Iowans working in December was about one-third less than in February, the Des Moines Register notes. The pace of recovery also has slowed: From April to July, Iowa added about 30,000 jobs a month, but in the five months since, the state has added just 5,700 jobs a month.

We’re hopeful that the economy will continue to improve, but the low unemployment rate could pose an additional headwind as employers look to hire and grow, especially after a long winter when COVID-19 inoculations will start happening in earnest.

RIP Jack Cosgrove

We were saddened to learn that longtime Rockwell Collins leader John “Jack” Cosgrove died recently. Mr. Cosgrove, a lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids, helped develop Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace) into a world leader in commercial and military avionics and communications as well as the global in-flight entertainment market.

Mr. Cosgrove was appointed president of Rockwell Collins in October 1996. He had previously served as president of the Rockwell Collins Avionics & Communications Division, a position he held since 1990. Mr. Cosgrove joined the Collins Radio Company, a predecessor company to Rockwell, in 1956. He was succeeded by Clay Jones.

Mr. Cosgrove was a generous leader and was a throwback to a time people lived in a single community and worked at one company the entirety of their professional career.