Iowa business climate strong, continuing to grow
According to an annual survey done by Chief Executive magazine, Iowa ranks as the 19th best state in the nation for business, a four-point jump from last year.
"The Iowa business climate didn't have as extreme a downturn in the recession as other parts of the country," Kathy Evert, president and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor, said. "And, even right here in our own region, we came back stronger than we were before the recession, particularly on the manufacturing side."
From what she has heard and read across the state, Evert noted the sentiment is consistent throughout other regions in Iowa.
"Iowa has always been attractive for manufacturing," she said. "We're centrally located, accessible to the market, and the cost of doing business and utilities is lower."
To continue the growth in jobs and business, Evert said the state legislature has made a strong effort to "tackle property tax costs," and suggested proposals regarding income tax may follow.
"We're constantly looking to see how Iowa can be the most competitive," she said. "It's a very competitive marketplace, all across the country."
In the upcoming years, Evert said the biggest challenge may be finding an available and skilled workforce to fill the jobs both currently open and forthcoming.
"Talk to any employer, and the first thing they'll tell you is they don't know if they'll have enough people to fill the jobs they'll have come available," she said.
One effort to meet that challenge is the Home Base Iowa initiative, a collection of bills that will encourage veterans leaving the military to come to Iowa to find jobs.
Evert said that even though Iowa is "in a good place" right now, there is no end in sight when it comes to growth and economic development.
"There's quite a bit in the pipeline, and I don't see anything slowing down or changing," she said. "The economy has come back stronger than it was before."