Business

More than half Northeast Iowa respondents who are unemployed are open to work: study

Laborshed report compiled to aid businesses

President Trump throws out hats that say “Make our farmers great again!” after the Roundtable Discussion on Workforce Development at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa Thursday, July 26, 2018.
President Trump throws out hats that say “Make our farmers great again!” after the Roundtable Discussion on Workforce Development at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa Thursday, July 26, 2018.

Almost a quarter of respondents to a new state laborshed-commuting survey of the Northeast Iowa Business Network said they are likely to change employment for a new opportunity, and more than half of those who are currently unemployed say they are actively seeking work.

That district includes the communities of Cresco, Decorah, Dubuque, Elkader, Oelwein, Manchester, Maquoketa and Waukon.

The report, released Wednesday by the Iowa Workforce Development, was conducted to determine labor availability and workforce characteristics in the area.

“This data provides critical insights on the available workforce in communities and will help them and businesses develop and implement solutions to meet their workforce needs,” IWD Director Beth Townsend said in a news release accompanying the report.

The report tallies the district’s population of residents ages 18 to 64 at 393,698. Its total estimated labor force for that same age range was recorded as 333,018.

In the responses, 80.9 percent of respondents self-identifed as being employed, while 23.8 percent of them said they were likely to change jobs.

Other categories included homemakers — almost half of whom said they were likely to accept work — and retired residents — of which more than a third said they were likely to accept employment.

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The report also includes information on education and wages, as well as hours worked among those who identified themselves as underemployed, among other factors.

“No two laborsheds are the same, and you really cannot make workforce decisions based on the standardized data available at the town or county level,” Iowa Ecomonic Development Authority Director Debi Durham said in the news release.

“I have seen firsthand how having this detailed level of information can make a difference for existing companies trying to improve worker retention rates as well as for companies trying to decide whether to expand in, or locate to, Iowa. This (laborshed data) really is a game changer for Iowa.”

IWD said it currently is conducting laborshed studies for the northern half of Iowa. The state’s goal is for each community across the state to have a recent current laborshed study by June 2020.

The northeast network data was the first round.

The report can be read at https://www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed-studies.

By the Numbers

A newly released report by the Iowa Workforce Development for the Northeast Iowa Business Network contained analysis geared to businesses seeking to increase hiring or relocate to the area.

• 14 — Number of miles one way respondents would be willing to commute for work

• 80.9 — Percent of respondents who self-identifed as being employed

• 23.8 — Percent who said they were likely to change jobs

• 60.9 — Percent who said they were unemployed but were likely to accept work

• 45.8 — Percent of respondents who said they were homemakers and likely to accept work

• 35 — Percent of those who said they were retirees but likely to accept work.

Cities in the Northeast Iowa Business Network:

• Cresco

• Decorah

• Dubuque

• Elkader

• Oelwein

• Manchester

• Maquoketa

• Waukon

Source: Iowa Workforce Development

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