Iowa Employment and Education

Unemployment has dropped from 4.6% in 2005, to only 3.8% in 2006. Earnings are also up 6.7% from last year. Over 30,000 new jobs were created in 2005. The average household income in Iowa, is $42,278.

Most of Iowa’s industry comes from farming. Nearly 89% of the state’s total acreage is used for the farming industry. Surprisingly, a high number of farmers are growing organic fields. Around 100,000 acres are used by 400 organic operators. Iowa is rated number one in the production of pork, corn and eggs in the United States. They are also ranked second in red meat and soybean production. Honey farms and wineries are also a main source of income for farmers in the state.

As a direct result of all of the farming, food processing is also a major industry in the state. Some of Iowa’s food processing companies include: Con Agra, Blue Bunny, Heinz, Quaker, General Mills, and Wonder Bread/ Hostess cakes. Although farming is the primary means of income in Iowa, other businesses are expanding. New industries in the state include biosciences, advanced manufacturing, technology and financial services. Advanced manufacturing businesses in Iowa include John Deere, Emerson, Lennox and Winnebago factories.

Iowa Education

Iowa is known for having several award-winning K-12 school districts. There are 1,541 schools in the state and it spends $7,610 on each student annually. NAEP scores show Iowa students have always tested above national average rates in every category of testing (math, science, reading and writing). Since 2000 alone, 4th graders have raised their math scores from 75 percent basic or above proficiency rates to 85 percent of students proficient in 2005. In 2002, 89 percent of 4th graders tested had basic or advanced writing skill levels. In 2005, 8th graders tested in at a 79 percent of students being able to read at basic or above reading levels. The student per teacher ratio is only 13.8 students per teacher in Iowa schools.