The Des Moines metropolitan market, like the entire state of Iowa, was not as severely affected by the sharp national economic downturn as most other metropolitan areas and states. Des Moines and the state of Iowa continue to rebound at a steady pace.
Buoying by the strong finance, insurance and agricultural/agribusiness sectors and other factors, Iowa’s unemployment rate (currently holding at 5.6 percent) has consistently trailed the national average by several percentage points. The greater Des Moines commercial real estate market slowed from 2008 to 2010 before beginning its recovery in 2011. Reversing the downward trend, most market segments experienced gradual improvement in occupancy.
The Institute for Economic Research at the University of Iowa has projected steady economic growth for the Des Moines metropolitan market and the state of Iowa through the end of 2013. Personal income is projected to grow 2.5 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013. The institute predicts employment will increase by 1 percent in 2012 in a state workforce currently employing more than 1.48 million people. Central Iowa’s non-farm workforce exceeds 365,000 people.
Des Moines is a dynamic financial activities hub that is home to Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo & Company, Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Iowa and EMC Insurance. Nationwide Insurance also has a significant presence in the city. The Des Moines metropolitan area continues to build on a growing national reputation as an outstanding place to live, work, start a business and raise a family. Recent ratings include:
- #1 Best City for Young Professionals – Forbes, July 2011
- #2 Best Place for Business – Forbes, June 2011
- #1 Richest metro in the nation – US News & World Report, June 2011
- #1 Best city in “America’s Best Places to Raise a Family” – Forbes
- #1 Best city in the U.S. for home renters – Time Magazine, June 2011
- #1 Best city as the “Most Livable Bargain Market” – MSN.com
- #9 Best state for business – CNBC, June 2011
- #4 Best city in the nation for doing business – MarketWatch
- Top 10 for mid-sized metro areas in “Best Places to Launch a Small Business” – CNNMoney.com
- One of the top 10 “Best Cities for the Next Decade” – Kiplinger
- #5 Best city for families – Parenting Magazine, June 2011
- #2 Best city for “Most Secure U.S. Places to Live” – Farmers Insurance Group
- #1 Best city in the nation for “Best Place for Business and Careers” – Forbes 2010
- One of the 20 strongest-performing metro areas – Brookings
- Cost of doing business is 17 percent below the national average – Moody’s Economy.com
Des Moines is the powerhouse of a thriving central Iowa region that includes Iowa State University and its related research activities. Iowa is an international leader in advanced manufacturing, biosciences, financial services, food manufacturing, information technology and renewable energy – industries well represented in central Iowa.
Iowa is a right-to-work state with a low cost of doing business, a skilled, educated and productive labor force and a business-friendly government. Innovative businesses benefit from technology transfer from Iowa’s three public universities. The state’s community college system, which includes several campuses in central Iowa, provides jobs training programs and incentives for specialized industries.
Des Moines Area Resources:
West Des Moines Resources