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IWD Laborshed

Over the last 15 years, Iowa Workforce Development’s Laborshed Study has been a unique and effective economic development tool.  Communities throughout Iowa use it to expand their existing businesses, attract prospective employers, maintain a high quality workforce, and make data-driven decisions. Unlike typical labor market information data, the Laborshed Study analyzes labor market information based upon commuting patterns into local areas regardless of jurisdictional (city, county, or state) boundaries.  The commuting patterns are determined through data provided by community employers.  This reporting by employers displays the community’s true labor market area.  Workforce characteristics are then collected and reported for residents of this employee defined labor market area.  

Iowa Workforce Development matches the known commuting pattern to U.S. Census Bureau data at the ZIP code level to provide local officials with the estimated size of their labor force within the commuting area.  This is unlike typical predetermined geographies, which often underestimate the size of a community’s labor market area.  Census data is also incorporated into the Laborshed Regression Model created and updated annually by the University of Northern Iowa.   This model estimates the number of people likely to change or accept employment in a given community, providing local businesses with information regarding possible pockets of available labor. 

Along with Census data and regression modeling, Iowa Workforce Development contracts with a market research firm to conduct a comprehensive phone survey of individuals 18 to 64 years of age in the commuting area.  The Laborshed Survey covers numerous workforce topics including: employment status, likeliness to change or accept employment, industries, occupations, wages, benefits, job search resources, education, commuting, and many others.  The Laborshed Survey captures data that cannot be found anywhere else. 

To learn more about Iowa’s Laborshed Study and how the unique data and customized analysis will support your organization’s efforts, please visitwww.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/laborshed-studies, or call Ryan Murphy (515-281-7505)/Katie Lippold (515-281-3035).

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