Iowa's Diverse Economy is Thriving

Categorized by many simply as an “agriculture state,” in reality the economic landscape in Iowa is much more complex. Home to a diverse and robust industry mix, Iowa offers a strong economy and numerous business opportunities in a variety of industry segments — including targeted sectors of advanced manufacturing, biosciences and insurance and financial services.

Ten industry segments contribute $154.7 billion real gross domestic product (GDP) to Iowa’s economy, with the service industry employing more than one-third of the state’s workforce and manufacturing contributing the second largest share (18 percent) of total output.

Iowa, which ranks 31st in the U.S. for job creation, added more than 19,100 non-farm jobs this past year growing the total state workforce of 1.58 million.

Iowa is among the leading states in terms of low unemployment rates, more than 38 percent lower than the national average.

Iowa leads the nation in terms of employee-owned firms (firms with ESOPs or stock bonus plans).

Iowa exports totaled 13.1 billion in 2015, growth of 21 percent from 2010. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Iowa ranks4th in the nation for net exports with $3.6 billion, behind Washington, Louisiana and Oregon.

With more than $13.1 billion worth of manufactured and value-added goods shipped out of the country, manufacturing accounts for 88 percent of Iowa’s total exports. Since 2001, Iowa manufacturing exports have grown by 181 percent – nearly 70 percent more than the nation as a whole.

Iowa manufacturers export products to all parts of the world.

While growth of Iowa's population growth (5.4 percent) and labor force (4.6 percent) trailed national gains, the increases in median household income (24.3 percent) and Real GDP (13.9 percent) outpaced national gains.