IBC’s Annual Competitive Dashboard Outlines Iowa’s Advantages and Opportunities for Growth

February 3, 2021

DES MOINES – The Iowa Business Council (IBC) released its annual, nonpartisan review of the state’s economic climate. Known as Iowa’s Competitive Dashboard, the report measures the state’s standing nationally in five categories: economic growth; workforce & education; governance; health & wellness; and demographics & diversity. For each category, Iowa is awarded a cumulative score that determines whether it is outperforming, competitive, or under performing nationally.

Cumulatively, Iowa ranks competitive for each category. However, within each section additional metrics provide further context. For instance, Iowa ranks number one in the nation for labor force participation rate. The state also outperforms in manufacturing value as a percentage of GSP; educational attainment after high school; state public-pension funded ratio; and percentage of population lacking healthcare. Alternatively, Iowa underperforms in corporate tax index; individual income tax index; ethnic diversity of population; and net overall migration.

“While Iowa remains competitive, there are opportunities for the state to strengthen its position nationally. Iowa has relatively low unemployment levels and very high workforce participation rates, but this constrains our ability to create and fill new jobs,” explains IBC Chair Tim Yaggi. “To ensure a healthy and growing economy, it will be critical that Iowa implements policies and practices that welcome new Iowans into our state while enhancing economic opportunities for all Iowans,” he adds.

The metrics included in the report can be measured consistently across all 50 states, providing an accurate depiction of how Iowa is competing nationally. Each indicator consists of five metrics that are averaged to determine Iowa’s overall performance in that category. The report also includes recommended actions that IBC members developed to help the state improve in each category.

The dashboard, which has been released since 2011, serves as a tool for policymakers and business leaders to use when making sound economic decisions. IBC members encourage community leaders to join in implementing the report’s recommendations, or use the data to develop their own action items.

The IBC believes progress can be made on the issues outlined in the Competitive Dashboard by addressing priority areas such as competitive tax policy, broadband connectivity, workforce development, child care and housing. To view the full Competitive Dashboard and learn more about the organization’s 2021 legislative agenda visit www.IowaBusinessCouncil.org.

Iowa Business Council members span all 99 counties and provide an influential economic and philanthropic impact across our communities. In 2020 IBC members:

  • employed 172,000+ Iowans;
  • had a combined payroll exceeding $9.7 billion;
  • spent over $1.6 billion in capital investment;
  • spent over $2.1 billion on research and development;
  • gave over $57 million in charitable contributions and over 168,000 volunteer hours;
  • spent more than $82 million in education and training.


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