SPENCER - The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has released its updated regional laborshed analysis. The laborshed analysis, updated at least every three years, was conducted by Iowa Workforce Development and once again indicates the region has a diverse, skilled and educated workforce.
A laborshed is defined as the area or region from which an employment center draws its commuting workers. All information reported in the laborshed analysis is based on the number of respondents; 1,125 surveys were completed. The information reported is in aggregate form. The total potential laborforce from the four-county region of Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet is 132,008.
Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Corridor, said, "Our recent laborshed analysis informs us, as well as existing and prospective employers, that our region has a diverse mix of industries, skills, abilities and work experiences and a potential laborforce two times our population."
The laborshed analysis was conducted in the summer of 2012, following the collection of ZIP code information from area employers. The ZIP code information was entered into a geographical information system mapping program to generate the concentration levels and commuting patterns of employees in the region. Telephone surveys were then conducted on more than 1,600 residents/employees in the region between the ages of 18-64. The results indicated that 78 percent of residents are employed, while 6.9 percent were unemployed, 6.3 percent were voluntarily not employed/not retired and 8.8 percent were retired.
A few other statistics found in the analysis are that individuals willing to change or accept employment in the region are willing to commute 24 miles one way for employment opportunities; more than 24 percent are working multiple jobs and 25.6 percent of those currently employed are willing to change jobs for the right opportunity. Just over 39 percent of those voluntarily not employed/not retired and 29 percent of retired residents were willing to re-enter the workforce.
Survey respondents were asked to identify the industry in which they are currently working. The largest concentrations of workers are employed in wholesale and retail trade, 15.9 percent; education, 15.8 percent; healthcare and social services, 13.9 percent and manufacturing, 12.7 percent.
The analysis provides education and median wage information of the respondents by the industry in which they are employed, what resources are used in seeking employment opportunities and what benefits are currently offered.
"Existing employers in the region can use this information to see the commuting patterns, what job training employees feel they need, see the number of residents and their experience and wage levels and what it would take for homemakers, retirees and underemployed to consider and accept new employment opportunities," said Shaun Arneson, vice president of the Iowa Lakes Corridor. "Existing employers may consider looking inside their own company to identify employees that have more capacity than what their current position requires."
The laborshed also identifies frequent job search sources. The four main sources noted were local and regional newspapers, The Des Moines Register, Sioux City Journal, Spencer Daily Reporter; the Internet, www.iowaworkforce.org, www.google.com, www.monster.com; networking through friends, family and acquaintances and local IowaWORKS Centers.
The regional laborshed analysis is available for the Estherville, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake nodes, as well as by specific industries: advanced manufacturing and food processing. Summaries are available at no charge and can be downloaded from the Corridor's website, www.lakescorridor.com. Full detailed reports are available for a fee at the Iowa Lakes Corridor office in Spencer. The executive summary is available in hard copy and online.