Area Development 10 factors most important in site selection: Factors 10-6

Site selection and economic development publication Area Development recently published a series of articles on the top 10 site selection factors. Here’s how Iowa stacks on some of the factors. Check out a forthcoming article that will discuss the top 5 factors. For more information on what Iowa offers companies, visit or contact

#10 – Energy Availability and Costs

Industrial electricity rates in Iowa are 15 percent below the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Iowa generates more than 35 percent of its electricity from wind, the highest percentage of any state. The availability of affordable and renewable energy is one reason companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have located data centers in Iowa.

#9 – State and Local Incentives

Iowa is one of a few states to offer refundable research activity credits, and the only state to offer an incentive for the production of renewable chemicals. The state also has a variety of programs to incentivize hiring Iowans, training workers and exporting goods. For more information on state of Iowa programs, visit

#8 – Proximity to Major Markets

Iowa’s central location, extensive rail network and transcontinental interstates help manufacturers reach major markets. Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Louis are all within a 300 mile (500 km) radius from Iowa.

#7 – Corporate Tax Rate

CNBC ranks Iowa as having the second lowest cost of doing business in the country. Iowa’s corporate income tax is a single-factor, non-unitary tax, based only on the percentage of total sales income within the state. Multiple tax credit programs and a 50 percent deductibility of federal taxes also further ease the state’s corporate tax. The state also offers no personal property taxes for corporate inventories of goods-in-process, raw materials or salable goods.

#6 – Labor Costs

A survey of more than 500 CEOs by Chief Executive ranked Iowa sixth for worker quality, and that skilled labor is available at an affordable price. Iowa payroll costs are more than 18 percent below the national average, and workers compensation premium rates are 11 percent below the national average.  Iowans also have the 12th lowest housing costs relative to income, and the 13th highest per capita real income in the country.

To learn more about Iowa’s business environment, visit

An Iowa biodiesel refinery is doubling in size, check out this PDF on Iowa’s biofuel industry

Iowa is continuing to lead the country in biodiesel production. Renewable Energy Group broke ground on a $24 million expansion of its Ralston, Iowa, biorefinery, increasing production capacity from 12 million to 30 million gallons a year.

There are 12 biodiesel biorefineries in Iowa with a capacity of 343 million gallons a year. These biorefineries benefit from easy access to soybeans from Iowa farmers, which lead the country in annual soybean production. They also benefit from Iowa’s business friendly approach to biodiesel production. Biodiesel producers are eligible to receive a refund on the amount of sales or use tax paid during the production biodiesel, up to 4.5 cents per gallon.

For more information on Iowa’s biofuels and biorenewables economy, download the below informational PDF from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Click to download the PDF.

Every day is a Small Business Saturday in Iowa

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known across the country as Small Business Saturday, a day to support small businesses, especially with holiday shopping. Iowa is dotted with vibrant main streets many of which offer small, independent shops perfect for finding unique gifts for loved ones.

In Iowa, supporting small business is more than a one-day marketing affair. As a vital part of our economy, Iowans embrace and support these companies every day. More than 97 percent of Iowa companies are classified as small businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and account for more than 83 percent of Iowa’s exporters. Small businesses also employ almost half of Iowa’s workforce. Striking, isn’t it?

The Iowa Economic Development Authority offers a number of programs to help small business owners kick-start their businesses, hire skilled employees and export goods. For more information visit