An Iowa State University study says Iowa’s economic development focus on so-called “value-added agriculture” to produce new jobs may be too narrow. I-S-U economist David Swenson and colleagues studied job movement in value-added industries from 1991 to ’98. Swenson says they found the value-added industries are capital intensive and don’t do a lot to create many new jobs. Swenson says there’s no doubt the value-added industries do help improve the markets for farmers and help prices.He says they aren’t saying the industries shouldn’t be looked at, but he says they won’t play a major role in creating new jobs. Swenson says the state should take a varied approach in creating new jobs that allows the state to capture the market in some businesses that haven’t been traditional strengths. Swenson says the state should study its resources carefully to see which areas can best accommodate value-added industries.Swenson says the most rapid job growth in the state is occurring in non-metropolitan areas.
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