Iowa Q2, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 104,220 employers, up 1.3% from 102,851
  • 1,567,871 employees, up 0.2% from 1,564,501
  • $902 average weekly wage, up 2.5% from $880
  • The average weekly wage is 17.6% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 9.9% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 1,369, which is an increase of 1.3%. The number of employees in Iowa increased by 3,370, an increase of 0.2%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $22, an increase of 2.5%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 1,343 or 1.4%. Growth in private businesses in Iowa grew slower than the national average of 2.9%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 2,624 or 0.2%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Iowa was slower than the national average of 1.4%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $23 or 2.6%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Iowa grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 11.2% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 0.6%. Healthcare (10.2%), which increased by 2.0% and Professional services (9.4%), which increased by 2.7%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Mining and oil extraction2412.5%
Company management798.2%
Educational services574.9%
Transport and warehousing1524.0%
Real estate and rental1363.9%
Waste services1823.4%
Arts and entertainment463.1%
Professional services2582.7%
Agriculture and forestry662.5%
Finance and insurance1382.1%
Information362.1%
Healthcare2082.0%
Accommodation and food services821.1%
Wholesale trade670.9%
Construction170.2%
Manufacturing-10-0.2%
Retail trade-73-0.6%
Other services-117-1.3%
Utilities-5-1.5%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 14.5% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 2.0% in the last year. Healthcare (12.3%), increased by 0.1% and Retail trade (11.1%), decreased by 2.6%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Company management1,1525.9%
Transport and warehousing1,8393.2%
Arts and entertainment5072.3%
Manufacturing4,5182.0%
Construction1,1871.5%
Agriculture and forestry2841.4%
Finance and insurance9831.1%
Real estate and rental1240.9%
Wholesale trade2610.4%
Healthcare1360.1%
Accommodation and food services-224-0.2%
Mining and oil extraction-8-0.3%
Other services-159-0.4%
Professional services-766-1.5%
Waste services-1,104-1.6%
Utilities-121-1.9%
Educational services-550-1.9%
Retail trade-4,709-2.6%
Information-725-3.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,839per week compared with the state average of $891. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $32 or 1.8%. Company management ($1,612), rose by $72 or 4.7% and Finance and insurance ($1,419) increased by $17 or 1.2% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Other services$6510.0%
Information$686.4%
Arts and entertainment$154.7%
Company management$724.7%
Agriculture and forestry$344.4%
Waste services$243.7%
Professional services$423.3%
Accommodation and food services$92.9%
Mining and oil extraction$322.8%
Retail trade$142.7%
Construction$252.4%
Healthcare$202.4%
Wholesale trade$242.0%
Educational services$131.8%
Utilities$321.8%
Real estate and rental$121.4%
Finance and insurance$171.2%
Transport and warehousing$80.9%
Manufacturing$80.7%


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 5,060 employing 93,170 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 70 more businesses, an increase of 1.4% in the last year. Computer systems design and related services (2.3% of businesses) added 77 businesses, an increase of 3.3% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.1% of businesses) added 43 businesses, an increase of 2.0% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Trusts estates and agency accounts15300.0%
Food crops grown under cover2100.0%
Home furnishing merchant wholesalers1152.4%
Office equipment rental and leasing150.0%
Pension funds250.0%
Advertising material distribution services733.3%
Drafting services631.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled1669.7%
Accounting and bookkeeping services857.2%
Management of companies and enterprises798.2%
Computer systems design and related services773.3%
Restaurants and other eating places701.4%
Management consulting services675.3%
Residential developmental disability homes6412.8%


Employees by Industry

Computer systems design and related services (2.3% of employees) added 77 employees, an increase of 3.3% and Insurance agencies and brokerages (2.1% ofemployees) added 43 employees, an increase of 2.0% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Scheduled air transportation156127.5%
Other insurance related activities2,77554.0%
Other support activities for transportation6151.8%
Fruit and vegetable canning and drying11343.0%
Security systems services19538.3%
Other farm product raw material merch. whls.1736.1%
Emergency and other relief services3635.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Other insurance related activities2,77554.0%
Management of companies and enterprises1,1525.9%
Electronic instrument manufacturing1,13111.1%
Animal slaughtering and processing1,0483.3%
General warehousing and storage8848.4%
Power and communication system construction83831.2%
Construction machinery manufacturing4675.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Open-end investment funds, paying $2,909 compared with the state average of $891. Employees in the Open-end investment funds industry were paid $0 more per week, an increase of 0.0% in the last year. Commodity contracts dealing ($2,898) and Investment banking and securities dealing ($2,463) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Commodity contracts dealing ($2,898 per week) were paid $842 more per week, an increase of 41.0% and Investment banking and securities dealing ($2,463 per week) were paid $76 less per week, a decline of 3.0% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Soybean farming$1,149143.3%
All other personal services$1,331134.6%
News syndicates$72176.0%
Advertising material distribution services$52463.4%
Professional employer organizations$54546.7%
Commodity contracts dealing$84241.0%
Independent artists writers and performers$15739.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
All other personal services$1,331134.6%
Soybean farming$1,149143.3%
Commodity contracts dealing$84241.0%
News syndicates$72176.0%
Professional employer organizations$54546.7%
Advertising material distribution services$52463.4%
Satellite telecommunications$46432.3%


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 92.4%. (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%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places5,0601.4%
Computer systems design and related services2,3983.3%
Insurance agencies and brokerages2,2252.0%
Residential building construction1,925-0.2%
Services for the elderly and disabled1,8869.7%
Private households1,835-7.3%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores1,600-0.7%
Commercial banking1,5222.6%
Offices of lawyers1,387-0.1%
Offices of physicians1,331-6.8%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places93,170-0.1%
General medical and surgical hospitals39,924-2.4%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores37,621-1.0%
Animal slaughtering and processing32,7563.3%
Commercial banking29,411-0.1%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing28,5200.6%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters24,1320.2%
Offices of physicians23,6180.1%
Temporary help services22,652-5.0%
Management of companies and enterprises20,6955.9%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Open-end investment funds$2,9090.0%
Commodity contracts dealing$2,89841.0%
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,463-3.0%
All other personal services$2,320134.6%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,2674.1%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers$2,15210.2%
Reinsurance carriers$2,1310.0%
Electric power generation$2,053-1.2%
Investment advice$2,048-13.0%
Commodity contracts brokerage$2,0157.6%




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.