By Timothy S. Fox, Executive Director, Charles City Area Development Corp.
You may recall that the best quarter in Floyd County manufacturing quantity of employees was the fourth quarter of 2016 — 1,449 manufacturing employees was the highest number in at least the past 25 years.
In the first quarter of 2017, Floyd County averaged 1,589 manufacturing employees. This is a 9.7 percent increase, while the state of Iowa manufacturing employment remained flat. This is a far cry from the late 1990s when Floyd County had fewer than 800 manufacturing jobs.
The data source we use is the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), compiled by Iowa Workforce Development.
Fourth quarter 2016 average manufacturing wage was $1,159 per week. This figure rose to $1,344 per week in first quarter 2017, a 16 percent increase. Undoubtedly part of this is attributed to overtime, but overall is a very promising development.
Extrapolating the average weekly wage over a year yields an average annual wage of $69,888, which is highly commendable in a rural county.
The average weekly manufacturing wage for Iowa in the first quarter was $1,117. Floyd County’s manufacturing wages were 20 percent higher than the average of Iowa!
Furthermore, the total manufacturing wages for first quarter were $27,771,797. If we maintain this pace it will total $111 million for 2017 – our first $100 million year. The previous record was $88.12 million in 2016, compared to $51.76 million in 2011.
We will keep a close eye on QCEW data over time and continue our efforts to work with North Iowa Area Community College and local school districts (STEM) in growing the local work force. We have several companies with Iowa New Job Training Program contracts, which mutually benefits new employees in acquiring skills and employers in helping defray training costs.
We owe much to our manufacturing sector for consistently providing solid job opportunities for our citizens. It is our role to support them and enable Floyd County to be as economically competitive a place to do business as we can.