Economy of Iowa

By | March 4, 2023

The economy of Iowa is largely based on agriculture and manufacturing, with services, finance, and other sectors playing a smaller role. As the nation’s leading producer of corn and ethanol, Iowa is a major agricultural powerhouse. In addition to corn and ethanol production, other important crops include soybeans, hogs, cattle, oats, hay, and eggs. Iowa also has a strong presence in the food processing industry as well as in biofuels production. Manufacturing is another mainstay of the state’s economy. Major products include machinery, chemicals, electrical equipment, printing and publishing materials, transportation equipment (especially aircraft parts), processed foods (including frozen foods), textiles (especially apparel), rubber products (especially tires), and plastics.

Iowa is home to several large companies such as Principal Financial Group Inc., Rockwell Collins Inc., Meredith Corp., Casey’s General Stores Inc., Hy-Vee Inc., Kum & Go LLC., The Weitz Company LLC., Fareway Stores Inc., Vermeer Corporation and Allied Insurance Co. These companies help drive the state’s economy by providing jobs in various industries including insurance, finance and banking; engineering; food processing; construction; retailing; energy; transportation; manufacturing; telecommunications; health care services; travel/tourism/hospitality/entertainment services; government/public sector services/agencies/institutions/organizations; education services/universities/colleges/schools; information technology services; media outlets (newspapers/television stations); professional services (lawyers/accountants); scientific research & development services.

In terms of employment rate statistics from 2018 show that the unemployment rate in Iowa was 2.6%, lower than the national average of 3.9%. Overal employment growth has been quite healthy with an average annual growth rate of 1% from 2015-2018 which was higher than the US average for this period at 0.8%.

Incomes are slightly lower than the national median household income in 2018 at $61 937 compared to $61 922 nationally but still above other states like Mississippi ($41 575) or West Virginia ($43 809). The poverty rate too is slightly higher at 11% compared to 10% nationally but again lower than some states like Louisiana or Mississippi where it exceeds 20%. Overall though living standards are quite high with low unemployment rates coupled with relatively high incomes suggesting that Iowans have access to good quality jobs across a range of industries which helps bolster their economic security while providing them with good opportunities for economic growth in future.

In terms of infrastructure investment Iowa has invested heavily in its roads network with over $1 billion allocated annually since 2012 while other infrastructure investments include energy projects like wind farms as well as improvements to its public universities such as University of Iowa which recently underwent a $1 billion renovation project that included new student housing among other amenities.

Overall then it’s clear that Iowa’s economy is doing quite well despite challenging conditions nationally thanks largely due to its strong agricultural sector coupled with its investments into infrastructure projects that have helped attract businesses looking for good quality locations for their operations while also providing job opportunities for Iowans across a variety of industries helping them maintain their economic security while also offering plenty of opportunities for future economic growth too.

Top 3 Counties in Iowa

According to, main counties in Iowa include:

1. Polk County: Polk County is the most populous county in Iowa, located in the center of the state. It is home to the state capital, Des Moines, and many other major cities and towns. The county has a diverse economy with a strong agricultural base, as well as a thriving health care sector and financial services industry. Education is also an important part of the local economy, with several colleges and universities located within its borders. The county’s population is diverse, with a large Hispanic population living in Des Moines and surrounding communities.

2. Linn County: Linn County is located in eastern Iowa, bordering Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The county has a strong agricultural base that includes corn, soybeans, hogs, beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep and poultry production. It also has several large manufacturers that employ thousands of people in its cities and towns. Education is important to Linn County residents; there are several universities and colleges located here including Kirkwood Community College and Mount Mercy University.

3. Scott County: Scott County is located on the western side of Iowa near Davenport and Bettendorf along the Mississippi River. The county has a strong agricultural base that includes corn, soybeans, beef cattle and hogs production along with some small-scale vegetable farming operations throughout its rural areas. Scott County also has an industrial sector which includes food processing companies such as Tyson Foods along with manufacturing businesses such as John Deere & Company’s Davenport Works facility which employs over 4500 people locally. Education is also an important part of life in Scott County; it has several colleges including St Ambrose University in Davenport along with other smaller campuses throughout its towns.

Economy of Iowa