Iowa Business Council Says Iowa Still Competitive, Despite Pandemic

April 7, 2021

Caelan McGee, KTVO

It was a surprisingly solid year for Iowa, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to the economy, Iowans have proved to be resilient. According to data from the Iowa Business Council, the state is leading the nation in labor force and is performing well in manufacturing.

"It's not just manufacturing, it's not just agriculture, it's not just financial services," said Joe Murphy, Iowa Business Council Executive Director. "We have a lot of really good and dynamic industries in this state, which help us weather economic storms much more efficiently and at a much more accelerated rate than other states, particularly in the Midwest."

One area in which the state struggles with is attracting new residents and retaining existing ones. Iowa's five-year population change dropped from 2% to 1.1% this year, which experts think may hurt the state's ability to bring in new business.

"It's very concerning for us as we think about businesses opportunities to expand in Iowa," Murphy said. "Businesses will expand in Iowa so long as there are people who are there to take the jobs, and if businesses can't get access to qualified and talented workforce, they'll expand to other states. It's as simple as that. "

Another priority for the state is broadband infrastructure. Murphy said expanding Internet access would attract more businesses and workers, while also improving the future of education.

"The internet is not a fad, it is not going away," Murphy said. "It's only becoming more ubiquitous and our ability in our everyday life and so that infrastructure and that connectivity is so critical important to every aspect of our life in education, educating our future workers in the state.”

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