By PETER HUSSMANN
Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Economic Development Authority today released a number reports that compare regional economies to the statewide economy, as well as cocmparisons of counties within regions.
The reports attempt to quantify with Gov. Terry Branstad's election goals of improving the socio-economic environment for Iowans by creating 200,000 new jobs, increasing family incomes by 25 percent, making Iowa's education system the best in the nation and reducing government and cutting state government costs by 15 percent.
The status reports delineate some of the opportunities and challenges the state and regions face in the attainment of these goals.
The regional reports group counties based on economic development regional markeing group territories and Laborshed areas. Jasper County is grouped with Boone, Dallas, Madison, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story and Warren counties.
As would be expected, the data provided in the report shows the fallout in Jasper County from the closure of the Maytag corporate headquarters and production plant in Newton. Specifically, the report notes Jasper County's position within the region in a number of not-so-positive categories, including:
- Highest unemployment rate
- Only county with negative population growth between 2000-2010
- Negative labor force growth of 6.6 percent
- Negative non-farm employment between 2005 and 2010 of 8.8 percent
- Lowest median household income growth at 5.7 percent
- Lowest per capita income at $33,053
- Lowest percent with residents holding bachelor's degree at 16.6 percent
- More than 19 percent of workforce hit by a layoff in the past 20 years
- Projected K-12 school enrollment decline five years out of 7.7 percent or 445 students
- Highest county urban tax levy at $8.63/$1,000 valuation
- Highest county rural tax levy at $11.78/$1,000 valuation
The report, however, does note Jasper County's strong position in emerging industries with its biodiesel plant, its wind tower manufacturer Trinity Structural Towers and its wind blade manufacturer TPI Composites, a facility President Obama will visit late this afternoon where he will call on Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit for wind energy, a move necessary to forestall potential layoffs in the industry.
You can read the 52-page report here.