Iowa manufacturing continues to improve but employment is still 10 percent lower than 2007 pre-recession levels, according to an annual industry review conducted by Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).
The CIRAS annual manufacturing review is based on analysis of 2011 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau and International Trade Administration.
“Iowa (manufacturing) did not go to the depths in job losses as we saw across the nation and therefore it’s recovering quite nicely,” said Ron Cox, CIRAS director. “There are several factors that contributed to this, the strong farm economy and grain prices mean people are needing to purchase farm equipment.”
Agricultural commodities, raw materials and machinery equipment made up the bulk of of Iowa manufactured goods.
The review found that in 2011, there were more than 5,980 manufacturing companies in Iowa. Of those companies, about 47.5 percent were owned by small or medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees and 4.9 percent were large manufacturing enterprises with 500 or more employees.
Iowa manufacturing employed 211,998 people in 2011 or 10.8 percent of the state’s total employment.
In 2011, Linn County employed 19,831 people in manufacturing — the highest in the state — while Johnson County employed 5,580. In the United States, manufacturing accounted for about 7 percent of total employment.
The average manufacturing salary in 2011 was $51,120 and Cox said that rural communities are more dependent on the manufacturing industry than urban communities. Manufacturing accounts for 12.7 percent of total earnings in Iowa’s metropolitan areas and 19.4 percent of total earnings in non-metropolitan regions
Manufacturing contributed $27.6 billion to Iowa’s economy in 2011, which makes it sixth among all states in its percentage of gross domestic product from manufacturing. The state also exported $11.7 billion worth of manufactured goods to other countries in 2011.
“The manufacturing sector is one of largest multipliers in the state,” Cox said, explaining that the industry touches many aspects of the state’s economy. “The goods manufactured need to be trucked to a store, so the trucking industry does better. Higher wages mean they’ll be spending more money in communities.”
The Center for Industrial Research and Service is part of the College of Engineering and Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University.