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Iowa Manufacturing Employment Contracts For The First Time In Four Years


Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, April 27th, 2016/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Following four straight years of gains, Iowa manufacturing employment declined in 2015, reports the 2016 Iowa Manufacturers Register®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Iowa lost 2,647 factory jobs from January 2015 to January 2016, or 1%, the first loss MNI has reported for the state since the 2011-2012 survey period.

Iowa is now home to 5,170 industrial companies employing 266,170 workers. MNI data shows factory employment in Iowa climbed 4% between January 2011 and January 2015, after posting a 10% drop during the recession.

“Like many other states across the nation, a stronger dollar is putting a dent in exports, and a scarcity of skilled labor has made it difficult for manufacturers to expand,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, Iowa’s business costs are among the lowest in the nation, and its stronghold in the food processing sector should help boost employment for years to come.”

MNI reports food processing remains Iowa’s top industry by number of jobs, employing 56,637, with no significant change in employment reported in 2015. The state’s food products sector may be poised for growth in the coming years, with Prestage Farms’ proposed pork plant in Mason City, which would create an estimated 2,000 jobs. In addition, Oscar Mayer plans to break ground on a new processing facility in Davenport; and Swiss Valley Farms recently expanded its factory in Luana.

Iowa industries reporting employment losses included primary metals, down 6.6%; textiles/apparel, down 4.7%; transportation equipment, down 3.3%; lumber/wood, down 2.1%; and industrial machinery, down 1%.

Manufacturing plants closing in Iowa included Keokuk Steel Castings in Keokuk; Tyson Foods, which shuttered its plant in Denison; Modine Manufacturing, which shut down its Washington operation; and Marel Meat Processing, which moved production from Des Moines to a facility in Georgia.

Losses were offset by employment gains in the state’s fabricated metals sector, which rose 1% to 21,966 jobs, ranking it third in the state for manufacturing employment. Other gains were reported in furniture/fixtures, up 2.6%; chemicals, up 1.7%; and rubber/plastics, up 1.4%.

MNI’s regional data shows Iowa’s West Central region led the state’s employment losses, declining 1.7% to 51,531 jobs. Jobs declined 1% in the state’s Southeast region to 57,272, and also fell 1% in the Northwest to 22,985. Manufacturing employment in Iowa’s remaining regions was little changed, with East Central Iowa accounting for 92,975 jobs; the Northeast for 25,412; and the Southwest for 15,995.

City data collected by MNI shows Cedar Rapids is the state’s top city by number of manufacturing jobs, up a half percent over the year to 20,407 jobs. Employment in second-ranked Des Moines declined 1.3% to 16,999 jobs. Employment held steady in third-ranked Waterloo at 12,302 workers, and fell 1.3% in Davenport to 8,756. Dubuque ranks fifth with 8,188 workers, down 1.8% in 2015.

Detailed profiles of all Iowa manufacturers can be found in the 2016 Iowa Manufacturers Register® available in print or online. Established in 1912, Manufacturers' News, Inc. is the nation’s oldest and largest publisher of industrial information. MNI offers a variety of tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers, from print directories to online subscriptions. MNI’s industrial database subscription service EZ Select: allows users to tap into a live interactive database of manufacturers, while its industrial search engine IndustryNet connects buyers and suppliers and allows users to view profiles and obtain competitive quotes. MNI’s traditional print directories are published for each state and include in-depth profiles of every manufacturer in the U.S. For more information, contact Manufacturers' News, Inc. 847-864-7000.
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