Iowa Employment Statistics

  • 102,929 employers
  • 1,549,881 employees
  • $914 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 17.0% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 8.2% below the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in Iowa, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 93.9% of employers run private companies in the state, 3.1% less than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 6.1% of employers are government agencies: 1.3% work in a federal agency, 1.5% work for the state and 3.3% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
84.5% of employees work for a private company. This is 0.7% below the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 11.1% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 3.2% of the workers and the federal government employs 1.1%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (15.5%) is 0.7% higher than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in Iowa is $914 per week, which is 17.0% greater than the national average of $1,101 per week. Iowa workers that are employed by private businesses earn $905 per week, 17.7% lower than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in Iowa earn $1,276 per week, a premium of 41.0% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 11.4% of the businesses in the state. Healthcare (10.1%) and Professional services (9.2%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Retail trade11,74911.4%
Healthcare10,43910.1%
Professional services9,4949.2%
Construction9,4529.2%
Other services8,6808.4%
Wholesale trade7,6157.4%
Accommodation and food services7,1867.0%
Finance and insurance6,6986.5%
Waste services5,3745.2%
Manufacturing4,1464.0%
Transport and warehousing3,8343.7%
Real estate and rental3,5123.4%
Agriculture and forestry2,6382.6%
Information1,7431.7%
Arts and entertainment1,4901.4%
Educational services1,1641.1%
Company management9710.9%
Utilities3270.3%
Mining and oil extraction1910.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 14.4% of the employees in the state. Healthcare (12.4%) and Retail trade (11.5%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Manufacturing222,58314.4%
Healthcare191,92212.4%
Retail trade178,82911.5%
Accommodation and food services122,8097.9%
Finance and insurance94,2156.1%
Construction77,2515.0%
Waste services67,2834.3%
Wholesale trade66,1384.3%
Transport and warehousing58,2343.8%
Professional services53,5903.5%
Other services42,3302.7%
Educational services27,8721.8%
Information22,0391.4%
Arts and entertainment20,8331.3%
Agriculture and forestry20,6401.3%
Company management19,5521.3%
Real estate and rental14,8011.0%
Utilities6,3920.4%
Mining and oil extraction2,4310.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,816per week compared with the state average of $905. Company management ($1,619) and Finance and insurance ($1,503) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Utilities$1,816200.7%
Company management$1,619178.9%
Finance and insurance$1,503166.1%
Professional services$1,313145.1%
Wholesale trade$1,265139.8%
Manufacturing$1,159128.1%
Mining and oil extraction$1,126124.4%
Information$1,125124.3%
Construction$1,104122.0%
Transport and warehousing$89999.3%
Real estate and rental$89999.3%
Healthcare$84293.0%
Agriculture and forestry$79187.4%
Educational services$72580.1%
Other services$66072.9%
Waste services$65472.3%
Retail trade$52457.9%
Arts and entertainment$34838.5%
Accommodation and food services$31935.2%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Iowa. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 4.9% of the businesses in the state (with 5,003 employing 91,824 workers). Computer systems design and related services (2.3%) and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.1%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places5,00318.4
Computer systems design and related services2,3195.2
Insurance agencies and brokerages2,1915.2
Private households1,9481.6
Residential building construction1,9333.3
Services for the elderly and disabled1,7336.0
Gasoline stations with convenience stores1,61312.4
Commercial banking1,48719.7
Offices of physicians1,40916.8
Offices of lawyers1,3874.6


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 5.9% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 91,824 in 5,003 businesses, there are 18.4 employees on average in each of these businesses. General medical and surgical hospitals (2.6%) and Supermarkets and other grocery stores (2.5%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places91,82418.4
General medical and surgical hospitals40,781258.1
Supermarkets and other grocery stores38,01854.0
Animal slaughtering and processing31,948206.1
Commercial banking29,32519.7
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing28,27673.3
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters24,45144.1
Temporary help services24,30024.4
Offices of physicians23,65316.8
Gasoline stations with convenience stores19,98512.4


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Other financial vehicles, paying $8,131 compared with the state average of $905. Trusts estates and agency accounts ($3,993) and Open-end investment funds ($3,923) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
Other financial vehicles$8,131898.5
Trusts estates and agency accounts$3,993441.2
Open-end investment funds$3,923433.5
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,794308.7
Commodity contracts dealing$2,484274.5
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,403265.5
Reinsurance carriers$2,274251.3
Investment advice$2,182241.1
Electronic instrument manufacturing$2,174240.2
Computer and software merchant wholesalers$2,119234.1


Company Size

Iowa Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Iowa by far. 57.0% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 92,002 small businesses in the state represent 95.5% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

Iowa Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 119.3% of all employees, which is 19.1% lower than the national average of 138.4%. Interestingly, the smallest companies in the state employ a higher percentage than the largest companies, this is not typical. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 94.3% of all workers, which is 2.8% higher than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 620.7% of the labor force in the state, 70.7% more than the national average of 550.0%.

Iowa Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

Iowa workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in Iowa (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 17.2% less than the national average ($832 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in Iowa (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 28.8% workers below the national average ($1,461 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.