Iowa's Competitive Dashboard
The 2018 Competitive Dashboard, our annual, nonpartisan review of the state’s economic climate, was released in February. The dashboard measures Iowa’s progress in five categories relative to other states, and serves as a guide to policymakers and business leaders when determining policies that will elevate Iowa’s economy. In the 2018 report, Iowa ranked in the middle of the pack for four of the five indicators – economic growth; education and workforce; governance; and health and wellness – while receiving a poor performance mark in the demographics and diversity category.
Unfortunately, the state’s business tax climate remains poor and Iowa ranks in the bottom 10 when compared to other states. Nevertheless, Iowa is a well-run state. Iowa policymakers’ strategic approach in addressing budget issues helped our state remain competitive in the best run state metric, with Iowa ranking third in the nation.
When reviewing the dashboard, we identify one item as the major concern for all of the indicators – the need for a trained workforce. While our state's high school graduation rate is one of the highest in the nation, the percentage of the population with education and training past high school, and of those obtaining Bachelor degrees, continues to slip. Additionally, from Iowa’s 30th place ranking in total population to the need for more active primary care physicians in the state, not having enough Iowans proves to be an issue. Within this report, we recommend action items for each indicator to help the state improve these metrics and keep Iowa growing. Click here to view the full report.