Extension News

Project targets economic research and assistance for southwest Iowa



Southwest Iowa has competitive advantages in several areas, including agricultural production, health and social services, and hospitality industries, a new Iowa State University Extension study shows. However, the area also faces some competitive disadvantages it must overcome. This regional economic assistance project is underway in 11 southwest Iowa counties. It is the third of four planned regional assistance projects.

“Economic development professionals in the region wanted detailed information about their respective counties so they could assess their relative positions compared with the entire region,” said Dave Swenson, ISU Extension economist. “So the researchers developed more information pertinent to the individual counties and less for the region than had previously been the case. In addition, the analysis was adjusted to separate the Council Bluffs metropolitan area from the region to provide better perspectives for the more rural-oriented participants.”

Among the findings: Southwest Iowa has competitive advantages in agricultural production, mining, utilities, transportation services, health and social services, hospitality industries and government services and agencies. However, the region must overcome competitive disadvantages in several industrial areas, including professional services, finance and insurance, arts and entertainment and accommodation and food service activities.

“Economic developers can use these data to plan how to deal with growth challenges facing the region, including outmigration of young adults and an aging workforce,” Swenson said. For more information, contact Swenson at dswenson@iastate.edu.

ISU Extension is carrying out these economic assistance projects thought its Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), which is a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center. Through this partnership and by combining resources with ISU’s Department of Economics, CIRAS develops and delivers research and technical services to assist Iowa’s economically distressed regions.


See the rest of the Message from the Vice President on the Web.

Contacts :

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu