filled with employment, wage data
The questions come into the Corridor all the time: Is my company paying too much or not enough? How many manufacturing jobs are out there? Where should we look for workers?
Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the laborshed study began several months ago with a letter sent to all businesses in the region with five or more employees. The businesses were asked to provide the zip codes for their workers' residences, which were then used to extrapolate local commuting patterns.
The resulting map stretches from Fort Dodge and Algona to the east, to Sheldon in the west, Denison to the south and all the way north to Windom, Minnesota. This is the Corridor laborshed.
Iowa Workforce Development next conducted more than 1,100 surveys by phone and email within the laborshed to assess the local employment situation.
The data points can be either broad or very specific. For example, there are an estimated 142,000 working age adults in the Laborshed, of whom 80 percent are employed. The median hourly wage across the region is $17.51.
Just 7.2 percent, or slightly more than 10,000 people, were unemployed at the time of the survey. This small number helps explain why so many companies have difficulties getting job applicants.
But a deeper look reveals that more than 19 percent of workers who are currently employed would likely change jobs if the right opportunity presented itself. And what is that opportunity? The two most coveted job categories are "professional, paraprofessional and technical," and "production, construction, and material moving." A wage of $19 an hour is enough to get most people to move.
The unemployed are seeking production jobs paying $15 or more.
Healthcare and human services remains the largest employment sector in the local economy, followed in order by wholesale and retail trade, education, and manufacturing. The highest wages are found in construction, manufacturing, and the catch-all category of transportation, communication and utilities.
We will use our newsletter in the coming weeks to highlight additional information from the Laborshed, but we encourage you to
take a look for yourself.
For the first time, the state this year an interactive online presentation, complete with some very cool maps, that makes the Laborshed more digestible.
Of course, those with questions can also call the Corridor at 712.264.3474. We're always happy to shed some light on local labor.