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Entries in Laborshed Analysis (2)


New Laborshed study to begin soon

The Washington Economic Development Group, a part of the 7-county Iowa's Creative Corridor, is poised to begin a Laborshed study examining the relationship between where employees live and where they work.

The study also will examine where and how employers find employees, and aims to assist existing and future businesses with understanding the size and characteristics of the area's labor force.

The Laborshed study will be conducted in by the Bureau of Research and Analysis, a division of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD).

Letters will be sent to employers in the 7-county region asking for aggregate counts of their employees' residential ZIP codes. Once the "laborshed" area is determined, a confidential household telephone survey will be conducted in those identified areas. The questions will cover topics such as occupation, employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits and education level.

Survey results will be applied to demographic data to determine the size of the region's area labor force, as well as various labor force characteristics. IWD will not be asking survey takers any identifiable information such as their name, social security number or date of birth.

When the study is complete, the results for each county and regional laborshed analysis will be available at and For questions, contact IWD’s Ryan Murphy at (515) 281-7505 or Ed Raber at WEDG (319) 653-3942.

The laborshed study is funded by area economic development organizations throughout the 7-county Creative Corridor, Alliant Energy and other utilities, Kirkwood Community College, and a grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation.

To view/download previous Laborshed studies in the area check out these links:

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Washington Area Laborshed Analysis

Last Fall, WEDG and other economic development groups in the Corridor Alliance, contracted with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Regional Research & Analysis Bureau to complete local area and a regional Laborshed Analysis. In March, WEDG hosted a presentation by IWD's Paula Nissen to talk about the report and discuss some key insights.

There is a lot of data and maps to look at in the report, which is available for download. There is information on wages by industry sector, benefits, employed, unemployed and other facinating tidbits, including lots of maps like this one.

Some Highlights from the Report

  • Random phone sample (including cell phones) of 405 people - employed, unemployed, retirees & homemakers. (95% confidence level)
  • About 12,000 employed people within about 30 min of Washington are willing to change jobs for a job in Washington. 47% of them have a post-secondary degree.
  • About 22% of employed persons worked in Education (think schools and University of Iowa)
  • About 10% worked in Manufacturing
  • The average hourly wage was $14.97 (for hourly workers) and the average salary was $52,000.
  • Those most interested or likely to change jobs currently average $11.83 per hour or about $43,000 in salary.
  • Those least likely to change jobs make an average of $16.38 per hour or have a salary of about $55,000.
  • In order to entice employed persons to change jobs, the wages should be between $15.00 - $16.12 per hour, or at least $60,000 in salary.
  • From Washington zip code (52353), about 25% commute outside the area, primarily to Johnson County.
  • For unemployed persons, their previous wage averaged $9.50 per hour, and they are looking for jobs paying $10-$10.50 per hour.
  • 25% of unemployed persons have a post-secondary degree.

Exciting downloads!

Employers around Washington County that are interested in getting more specific information about the laborforce, particular wage ranges, and other data you can't find in the reports should take heart. IWD has a mountain of local, regional and statewide data that doesn't fit in to these Laborshed Analysis reports, but may be available upon request. Contact Ed Raber to request some data mining from the Laborshed Analysis.

An upcoming blog post will be some information from IWD's presentation about the Skilled Iowa program and ACT's National Career Rediness Certificate (formerly called "Skilled Advantage" by Kirkwood). Also info presented on the Kirkwood Regional Education Center about to break ground in Washington this Spring.