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Iowa Industrial Employment Inched Up In 2016 As Food Processing Gains Ground

Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, April 18th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Following the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs in 2015, employment in Iowa’s industrial sector inched up in 2016, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), a publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports manufacturers in Iowa added 540 jobs in 2016, recouping about 20% of losses suffered in 2015.

Currently, Iowa’s 5,099 manufacturers employ 268,216. MNI reports the state’s manufacturing employment increased at a rate of about one percent per year between January 2011 and January 2015, adding a total of 12,375 jobs. Iowa industrial companies reported a loss of 2,600 jobs in 2015, erasing about 20% of those gains.

Iowa boasts one of the best business climates in the nation, which has gone a long way in securing significant post-recession manufacturing gains, particularly in its all-important food processing sector,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, a lack of skilled labor and limited capital funding as well as increased global competition is putting a dent in growth.”

Iowa’s slight manufacturing employment gain was driven solely by the food processing industry, which rose 2.2% in 2016. In addition, recent data suggests the upward trend for the sector may continue, with Seaboard Triumph Foods, Blue Bunny, Barilla Pasta, and Prestage Foods all announcing expansions in Iowa.
Food processing remains the state’s top industrial sector by employment with 58,088 jobs.

Second-ranked industrial machinery accounts for 48,687 jobs, down 1.4%, while factory employment in third-ranked fabricated metals was virtually unchanged at 21,981 workers.

Slight losses were recorded across most industrial sectors in Iowa and included lumber/wood, down 2.3%; primary metals, down 1.2%; furniture/fixtures, down 1.2%; and stone/clay/glass, down 1%.

Industrial locations announcing closures in Iowa included All American Homes, which shuttered its facility in Dyersville; Commercial Vehicle Group, which closed its Monona facility; and Terex, which moved operations from Waverly to Oklahoma, affecting 175 employees.

Southeast Iowa posted the largest gain, up 1.8% to 57,833 jobs, followed by West Central Iowa, which added 1.3% to its workforce, and now accounts for 53,150 industrial jobs. Employment was virtually unchanged in the Northwest and Southwest regions, at 23,473 and 16,084 jobs, respectively, and declined a half percent in East Central Iowa to 92,628 jobs. Northeast Iowa posted the largest decline, down 2.5% to 25,048 jobs.

City data collected by MNI shows Cedar Rapids remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, with 20,257 jobs, down 1% in 2016. Employment in second-ranked Des Moines inched up a third of a percent to 17,761 jobs, and rose 1% in third-ranked Waterloo to 12,617. Davenport accounts for 9,455 industrial jobs, up 3.8% to 9,455, and Dubuque accounts for 8,172, with no significant change reported in 2016.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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