The Iowa Business Council's 2015 Iowa Competitiveness Index found stagnant population growth that means efforts to improve quality of life, affordability, and employment opportunities will be even more important in the future, the council reported.


"In 2015, the council will turn its attention towards developing, maintaining and attracting a highly skilled and diverse workforce," said Larry Zimpleman, the outgoing chairman of the group and chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group Inc.

Zimpleman shared the findings of the index with 250 business leaders at the council's annual meeting Monday night at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Debi Durham, director of the Iowa 
Economic Development Authority, provided a keynote address, pinch-hitting for Terry Branstad, who fell ill earlier in the day.


First released in 2011, the index presents data and information relevant to vital trends that show how to bolster economic development long-term.


The council found that four of the five index issue areas remain unchanged from 2014. Workforce demographics and diversity moved from yellow, which means no significant change, to red, which is defined as "worsening."  


"This particular metric suggests that Iowa's demographics and diversity are not advancing fast enough to address the needs of a growth-oriented economy," the council report noted.


Michael Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises Inc., will chair the Iowa Business Council in 2015. Patrick Meyer, president and CEO of Pella Corp., will serve as vice chair.


See the full findings here >>>