Features

Road to recovery

"Road to recovery" Continued...

Issue: "Steve Jobs 1955-2011," Oct. 22, 2011

Rollie Clarkson, owner of Remodeling Contractors in Des Moines, has been in the home-remodeling field for more than 30 years, starting out by working his way through college. One change in the industry is the focus on "green" or environmental methods. That increases costs, such as certification to handle lead-based paint properly. The layers of government involvement go all the way to the local level, with each community determining sprinkler requirements. Even so, he's optimistic: "The last three years haven't been good for housing, whether building or remodeling," he said. "But your house is still a good place to put your money."

Bryan Regier, one of the pastors at Faith Bible Church in Cedar Rapids, said that the church had nine or 10 families out of work in 2008, when the city battled a flood, and the jobless are always a part of their ministry. "People found employment again, but they're underemployed," he said.

The church has a benevolence fund and an ad hoc committee process in place for when members end up in financial turmoil. They start by working up a new, lean budget. "We don't just bail them out," he said. "We get the numbers down, and we address hard issues."

Jobs are a constant topic of presidential hopefuls in Iowa, and Gov. Terry Branstad is touring the state talking jobs in town halls. With the federal government already borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, Branstad expects to continue looking for solutions at the state level. "This is a very slow recovery," he said. "That's why we've got to control costs."

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