2019 Edition

By Colin Gordon
Senior Research Consultant — Iowa Policy Project


One of the first reports issued by the Iowa Policy Project when the organization formed in 2001 was a review of the “State of Working Iowa.” This annual report card examined trends in wages, job growth, and job quality in Iowa. As technology evolved we moved away from a printed publication and we now post periodic updates on these measures on this website. Watch this website or our social media posts for new data to help inform Iowa’s economic and public policy discussions on these work-life issues. In addition, we periodically report on trends in nonfarm employment with our Iowa JobWatch feature as Iowa job growth has remained at a sluggish pace in recovery from the Great Recession.

The focus of our latest updates are on wages and jobs in Iowa. What are the long-term trends? What was the impact of the recession (and recovery) on the paychecks of working Iowans? Do age, education, or gender determine whether you gained or lost ground? What are the causes of persistent wage stagnation, and growing wage inequality?

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In this online version of The State of Working Iowa, some graphics that accompany our analysis have interactive elements or menus that allow readers to engage in their own investigations or comparisons — toggling between the Iowa and national numbers on key measures, for example, or choosing the points of comparison. Text in the print versions of chapters in or updates to this report may differ in minor respects from this version in references to graphics, due to the difference in print graphics from interactive graphics.

The author

Colin_Gordon_003x150902Colin Gordon, Ph.D. (History), Professor, Department of History, University of Iowa, is a Senior Research Consultant for the Iowa Policy Project. He has authored or co-authored several IPP reports, including most in the State of Working Iowa series, to advance effective and accountable policies that help working families. Among these are Wage Theft in Iowa, and Not Your Father’s Health Insurance: Discount Medical Plans and the Health Care Crisis. He also is the author of New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935; Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in Twentieth-Century America; and Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City.