Studies that analyze Iowa’s advanced manufacturing and information technology industries show mixed results as state officials seek to boost those two sectors of the economy. The studies were released Wednesday by a company that previously reviewed the two industries in 2005.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham says the report gives Iowa’s manufacturing sector a location quotient, or LQ, of 1.49. An LQ of greater than 1.2 indicates the employment concentration is significantly above the national average.
“When you look at all of our clusters in manufacturing, we have all but three that are 1.2 or higher,” Durham said. “In the agriculture sector, we almost have a 10 LQ. That just tells you strength of that platform going forward.” According to the report, advanced manufacturing employed 156,000 people in Iowa in 2009. The manufacturing sector in Iowa trimmed 11-percent of its jobs during the recession.
Durham says manufacturers have faired better in Iowa compared to other states and she expects expansions and job growth in the coming years. “We’re seeing that…they’re looking at deploying some of the cash they’re sitting on. Some of that is retooling, but some of that is job numbers,” Durham said. “We believe in the next year to two, we’re going to see some pretty robust growth come from the manufacturing sector in particular.”
The average wage in the manufacturing sector in Iowa is $50,669, which is 40% or $14,000 higher than the average private sector worker. Another study found the I-T sector represents just 2% of all Iowa private sector jobs – well below the national average. Durham says the reports will help her agency build a new incentive program to replace the Grow Iowa Values fund.
“We’ll take the data from these reports to say, ‘this is what our incentives need to look like,’ so we’re basically playing to our natural strengths,” Durham said. The reports released Wednesday follow an earlier study of Iowa’s bioscience industries.
All three reports are available online at: www.iowalifechanging.com/studies.aspx
Listen to Pat Curtis’ interview of Debbie Durham here: Durham 10:22