Iowa Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 103,565 employers, up 1.2% from 102,367
  • 1,524,307 employees, up 0.3% from 1,519,243
  • $942 average weekly wage, up 2.3% from $921
  • The average weekly wage is 20.4% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 8.2% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 1,198, which is an increase of 1.2%. The number of employees in Iowa increased by 5,064, an increase of 0.3%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $21, an increase of 2.3%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 1,174 or 1.2%. Growth in private businesses in Iowa grew slower than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 4,979 or 0.4%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Iowa was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $22 or 2.4%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Iowa grew slower than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 11.3% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 0.9%. Healthcare (10.2%), which increased by 1.5% and Professional services (9.3%), which increased by 2.2%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Mining and oil extraction2110.9%
Educational services756.6%
Company management596.1%
Waste services2063.9%
Real estate and rental1263.6%
Transport and warehousing1303.4%
Arts and entertainment453.0%
Information513.0%
Professional services2092.2%
Agriculture and forestry512.0%
Healthcare1531.5%
Finance and insurance991.5%
Accommodation and food services821.2%
Wholesale trade741.0%
Construction650.7%
Utilities00.0%
Manufacturing-16-0.4%
Retail trade-111-0.9%
Other services-145-1.7%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 14.7% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 2.7% in the last year. Healthcare (12.6%), increased by 0.0% and Retail trade (11.4%), decreased by 1.6%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment9185.3%
Company management8984.7%
Mining and oil extraction814.4%
Transport and warehousing2,2974.0%
Manufacturing5,8762.7%
Agriculture and forestry3481.8%
Construction8411.3%
Finance and insurance8590.9%
Real estate and rental620.4%
Wholesale trade1380.2%
Healthcare300.0%
Accommodation and food services-766-0.6%
Utilities-51-0.8%
Information-264-1.2%
Professional services-779-1.5%
Other services-634-1.5%
Retail trade-2,894-1.6%
Waste services-1,284-2.0%
Educational services-696-2.4%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,949per week compared with the state average of $939. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $125 or 6.9%. Finance and insurance ($1,862), rose by $52 or 2.9% and Company management ($1,775) increased by $47 or 2.7% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Utilities$1256.9%
Waste services$294.6%
Other services$274.2%
Healthcare$273.4%
Professional services$433.4%
Finance and insurance$522.9%
Company management$472.7%
Manufacturing$232.0%
Educational services$131.8%
Real estate and rental$161.7%
Accommodation and food services$41.3%
Agriculture and forestry$101.3%
Construction$131.2%
Retail trade$51.0%
Information$100.8%
Transport and warehousing$-3-0.3%
Wholesale trade$-7-0.5%
Arts and entertainment$-7-1.8%
Mining and oil extraction$-19-1.9%


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 5,041 employing 88,990 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 91 more businesses, an increase of 1.8% in the last year. Computer systems design and related services (2.3% of businesses) added 74 businesses, an increase of 3.2% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.1% of businesses) added 28 businesses, an increase of 1.3% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Advertising material distribution services1058.8%
Tobacco and tobacco product merch. whls.550.0%
Junior colleges444.4%
Laminated plastics plate sheet and shapes240.0%
Professional employer organizations440.0%
Drafting services633.3%
Home furnishing merchant wholesalers731.8%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled17410.5%
Restaurants and other eating places911.8%
Computer systems design and related services743.2%
Accounting and bookkeeping services746.3%
Temporary help services697.1%
Management consulting services635.1%
Residential developmental disability homes6112.3%


Employees by Industry

Computer systems design and related services (2.3% of employees) added 74 employees, an increase of 3.2% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.1% ofemployees) added 28 employees, an increase of 1.3% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
All other information services14316.7%
Scheduled air transportation156138.2%
Distilleries2975.6%
Amusement and theme parks10472.3%
Libraries and archives2070.0%
Musical groups and artists12361.6%
Other insurance related activities2,49149.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Other insurance related activities2,49149.3%
General warehousing and storage9729.3%
Management of companies and enterprises8984.7%
Agricultural implement manufacturing7226.0%
Animal slaughtering and processing7162.3%
Construction machinery manufacturing6787.9%
Power and communication system construction66132.6%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Computer systems design and related services ($2) and Insurance agencies and brokerages ($2) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Computer systems design and related services ($2 per week) were paid $74 more per week, an increase of 3.2% and Insurance agencies and brokerages ($2 per week) were paid $28 more per week, an increase of 1.3% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Satellite telecommunications$1,02263.0%
Other specialized design services$19942.8%
Other support activities for road transport.$44635.3%
Tobacco and tobacco product merch. whls.$33834.1%
Public relations agencies$42734.0%
Professional employer organizations$42629.6%
Independent artists writers and performers$8528.8%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Satellite telecommunications$1,02263.0%
Other support activities for road transport.$44635.3%
Public relations agencies$42734.0%
Professional employer organizations$42629.6%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers$36116.8%
Tobacco and tobacco product merch. whls.$33834.1%
Media representatives$28021.1%


Company Size

Iowa Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Iowa by far. 57.6% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 92,996 small businesses in the state represent 95.6% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.9%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Iowa added 1,174 businesses in the last year, an increase of 1.2% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 1,196 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 1.3% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses declined 27 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 0.6% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 5 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.9% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Iowa Employees by Business Size

Iowa added 14,937 employees in the last year, an increase of 1.2% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added -101 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of -0.1% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 5,180 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 1.1% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 9,858 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 5.4% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

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 18.1% less than the national average ($851 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Iowa (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 24.4% workers below the national average ($1,538 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses declined $52 per week in the last year, which is a decrease of 1.7% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $61 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $94 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 3.5% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



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.