Laborshed Study

The purpose of this Laborshed analysis is to measure the availability and characteristics of workers within the region by developing and conducting a telephone survey based on geographic principles. 

The Laborshed data generated will aid local development officials in their facilitation of industry expansion and recruitment and their service to existing industry in the area. All such entities require detailed data describing the characteristics of the available labor force including current/desired wage rates and benefits, job qualifications and skills, age cohorts, residence/work location, employment requirements/obstacles, and the distances individuals are willing to travel for employment.

The first step in determining the potential available labor supply requires an understanding of the Laborshed. Such an understanding will assist local development efforts by delineating the actual geographic boundaries from which communities are able to attract their workers. Determining the area’s Laborshed also builds the foundation for collecting valuable survey data and making estimates concerning the characteristics of the area’s potential labor force.

In order to determine the boundaries of the Laborshed area, Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) worked closely with the Davis County Development Corporation to identify where current employees reside. Employees were then aggregated into ZIP codes and placed into a geographic display for analysis (see Commuter Concentration per ZIP Code map).

Applying the mapping function of ArcView Geographic Information System (GIS) software produces the geographic display. This GIS program has been utilized to overlay the ZIP code data set, the county data set and transportation routes. IWD’s database of ZIP code data sets allows for numerous analyses and comparisons of the potential labor force, such as examining the complete demographic data for a ZIP code’s age cohorts (age groupings). Another benefit of applying GIS’s mapping function is the ability to identify visually where the workers are located, concentrations of labor and transportation routes that they use to travel to work. This representation is a valuable tool in understanding the distribution of the labor force within the region.

The GIS analysis of the Laborshed area illustrates that segments of the Davis County Laborshed area are located within a 50-mile radius of the Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as well as a 30-mile radius of the Corydon, Keokuk, Knoxville, Mount Pleasant, Sigourney, and Kirksville (MO) labor market areas (see Labor Market Areas in Region map). These labor centers will have an impact on the size of the area’s labor force and on the attraction of workers from within the Laborshed area. The Laborshed complements existing sources of labor data, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Employment Statistics and Labor Market Information Bureaus of IWD that concentrate on geographic areas based generally on a county or groups of counties.

The following sections of this report summarize the results of the Laborshed survey. Due to the magnitude of the survey results, it is not practical to review each set of variables. Instead, IWD has focused on the factors that we have found to be the most valuable to existing and future businesses. However, IWD will certainly conduct additional analyses if the development corporations and/or local businesses desire further review of specific variable(s) or sets of responses.

View a PDF of the complete laborshed study.


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