Economy

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.

Nine industry segments contribute $127.7 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 largest share (20.8 percent) of total output.

Iowa, which ranks third in the U.S. for job creation, added more than 11,600 non-farm jobs this past year growing the total state workforce of 1.485 million.

Iowa is among the leading states in terms of low unemployment rates, more than 33 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 13.3 billion in 2011, growth of 22.1 percent from 2010. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Iowa ranks 8th in the nation for overall export performance and number 10 in terms of exports growth.

With more than $13.3 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 179 percent – nearly 73 percent more that the nation as a whole.

Iowa manufacturers export products to all parts of the world.

While growth of Iowa's population growth (4.1 percent) and labor force (2.6 percent) trailed national gains, the increases in median household income (23.7 percent) and Real GDP (17.5 percent) outpaced national gains.