Advanced Manufacturing

Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) and its Sponsors and Partners focus on firms in the Iowa's manufacturing industryadvanced manufacturing industry cluster because of our demonstrated history of manufacturing excellence. Iowa’s advanced manufacturing industry remains diverse, and not overly dependent on any one sector for its economic fortune. Iowa manufacturing companies share a common interest in the use of advanced manufacturing processes, and together they all benefit from proximity to a community of firms that share knowledge, training, resources and suppliers.

With over 17.14% of Iowa's GDP attributed to manufacturing in 2021, Iowa ranks seventh in the U.S. for the percentage of GDP derived from manufacturing. Manufacturers contribute $38.56 billion to Iowa's economy

Iowa’s Advanced Manufacturing Industry Make-Up

  • As of 2022, there were approximately 6,200 manufacturing firms in Iowa employing over 226,000 workers.
  • Manufacturing accounted for 14.1% of Iowa's total employment in 2021.
  • The average annual wage for manufacturing jobs in Iowa was $64,891 in 2021, compared to $51,706 for all private industries.
  • Manufacturing jobs supported an additional 349,000 indirect jobs in other sectors in 2021.
  • Over 53% of Iowa's manufacturing jobs were located in non-metropolitan areas in 2021.
  • Iowa exported $15.1 billion in manufactured goods in 2022, with machinery, vehicles, and food products being the top export categories. 

Growth in Iowa’s Advanced Manufacturing Sectors

  • Agricultural Feedstock & Chemicals (Biosciences)
  • “Cleantech” (defined here to include ethanol, batteries, wind turbines, environmental controls, air purification equipment, etc.)
  • Meat Processing
  • Research, Engineering, & Industrial Design Services

Iowa's Supportive Infrastructure

  • Iowa has the physical infrastructure to support the advanced manufacturing industries including an extensive road, rail and airport network that link Iowa businesses with the rest of the world, two of the nation's major river transportation systems and abundant energy and water capacity.
  • Highly skilled workforce: Iowa's well-educated and dedicated workforce is a recognized asset to advanced manufacturing firms. The state's network of University-driven manufacturing-oriented research and community college training programs help drive productivity.
  • Pre-existing core competency: Iowa is a community of world-class advanced manufacturing firms that include many firms recognized for quality, efficiency and profitability.
  • Government support: Iowa offers extraordinary industrial training programs as well as technical and financial assistance.
  • Cluster collaboration: Iowa currently boasts supplier training programs and advanced research and commercialization projects as examples of inter-firm collaboration.

Physical Infrastructure Supporting Advanced Manufacturing Firms

Iowa is in the heart of the United States with a strong transportation network to support Iowa companies. There are more public road miles in Iowa than Interstate miles in the entire 50 states. Freight and rail shipments can reach vital markets like Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Omaha and Kansas City in just a few short hours.

  • Iowa has 107 publicly-owned airports, including 99 general and 8 commercial service airports. These facilities annually accommodate 2.5 million passengers and transport 175 million pounds of cargo.
  • Iowa is crisscrossed by 3,851 miles of rail freight track, used by 18 freight carriers to carry over 53.9 million tons of freight that originates in Iowa. Iowa also has two transcontinental Amtrak passenger routes.
  • Waterways in Iowa carry more than 12 million tons of freight each year.
  • With 114,486 miles of highway, Iowa's roadway system ranks 14th in the nation.

The State of Iowa has taken favorable action to provide reliable, abundant and affordable electric utility capacity. IADG Sponsors and Partners play a large role in the generation, transmission, and distribution of affordable, reliable electricity. Natural gas is readily available throughout the state. Iowa has 20 rural water systems that cover the state that have the capacity to supply large volumes of affordable treated and non-treated water to rural locations.

Productive Workforce Supporting Iowa Employers

Iowa has all of the key elements to provide a smart productive workforce necessary to foster business growth.

  • CEOs Rank Iowa's worker quality #2
  • 61.6% of Iowans have completed education or training beyond high school
  • In 2024, Iowa was tied for the highest high school graduation rate in the country at 91%

Additional Resources

Iowa Industry Fact Sheet - Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)
Manufacturing in Iowa - Study by ISU Extension and Outreach Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)