Iowa Workforce Development has finished its first round of new laborshed studies that are intended to make it easier for employers to find workers. 

The first group included Cresco, Decorah, Dubuque, Elkader, Oelwein, Manchester, Maquoketa and Waukon. The state hopes to finish the northern half of the state by June 30 and start the southern half in July. All the studies should be complete by June 2020. 

The next round will include Clinton, Davenport (Quad Cities) and Muscatine followed by Amana, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Monticello, Tipton, Vinton and Washington.

“I have always said for our state to grow, it can’t just be in pockets, and this new information will begin to serve communities all across our great state," Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. 
"I believe this valuable insight will help grow our state’s economy and create new opportunities for Iowans.” 

The studies assess labor availability. They are based on commuting patterns and give information on employment status, likeliness to change or accept employment, occupation and industry, job search resources used, current and desired wages and benefits, age, education, and distance willing to travel for work, among other factors. 

“No two laborsheds are the same, and you really cannot make workforce decisions based on the standardized data available at the town or county level,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “I have seen first-hand how having this detailed level of information can make a difference for existing companies trying to improve worker retention rates as well as for companies trying to decide whether to expand in, or locate to, Iowa.”