Laborshed Study Provides Insight on Iowa’s Workforce

Increased Salaries and Lower Underemployment Reported in 2017 Results

DES MOINES – The median annual salary increased $4,000 to $64,000 per year and the median hourly wage increased $1 to $17 per hour based on the 2017 Statewide Laborshed Study published by Iowa Workforce Development.

In addition, the statewide estimated total underemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent in 2016 to 4.5 percent in 2017. Total underemployment measures three categories: inadequate hours, mismatched skills and low income.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said an increase in wages and a decrease in underemployment are signs of Iowa’s strong economy.

“Jobs that pay higher wages require more skills, education and training,” said Reynolds. “As Iowans continue to train for the jobs of today and tomorrow, salaries will also rise. That’s why Future Ready Iowa is so critical to our state’s future.”

On Tuesday, April 3 at the Future Ready Iowa Summit in Des Moines, the Governor signed House File 2458, the Future Ready Iowa Act.

Future Ready Iowa is Iowa's plan to train Iowans for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The goal of Future Ready Iowa is 70 percent of Iowa workers having education or training beyond high school by 2025. In order to reach that goal, another 127,700 Iowans need to earn post-secondary degrees or other credentials.

The statewide Laborshed report shows that over three-fifths of employed respondents (61.6 percent) indicated they have completed education or training beyond high school. This statistic has been trending upward since 2008 in the annual statewide Laborshed reports and increased .4 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, encourages Iowans who would like to re-enter the workforce to use the services of the IowaWORKS Centers around the state.

“Numerous services are available at no cost at our IowaWORKS Centers including career assessments, skill assessments, resume and interviewing help as well as workshops and classes,” Director Townsend said. “We can also help determine if job seekers qualify for funding to receive training. We want to help Iowans find and keep high quality jobs.”

Websites Helpful Resources for Career Exploration

Three websites also are available to help Iowa job seekers in their career exploration:, and The Future Ready Iowa website features Career Coach (, which allows users to learn about different careers and what suits their interests, see how much each job pays in their area, determine if the job is in high-demand, find out what kind of education or training the job requires, search job openings, and build a resume.

Registered Apprenticeship opportunities are the focus of Both job seekers and employers who are interested in learning more about Registered Apprenticeships can submit a form to be contacted by IowaWORKS for more information.

On the Home Base Iowa website, veterans and transitioning service members can post a resume. Home Base Iowa businesses and communities can view the resumes online and are notified by email when resumes are posted that match their criteria.

The 2017 Laborshed Study is the result of a statewide analysis composed of 6,000 telephone survey responses. The responses were extracted from the statewide Laborshed database of 8,282 surveys conducted between January 2017 and February 2018. Surveys were conducted in each ZIP code based on a random sample of the population between 18 and 64 years of age and weighted by the total population in each ZIP code between 18 and 64 years old.

Laborshed studies provide community leaders, economic developers, site selectors and existing or prospective employers a flexible tool for understanding the workforce characteristics of their local labor market.

Iowa Workforce Development produces the annual Laborshed study in partnership with Iowa Economic Development Authority. The data is compiled and analyzed by the Labor Market Information Division of Iowa Workforce Development. View the complete Laborshed study at