A- A+


Greater Des Moines (DSM) is home to many business successes and has received numerous accolades over the past several years. These recognitions include being named one of the Top 10 best cities to live and work, one of the best cities for jobs, one of the Top 10 places with the most job opportunities per capita and the number one city for economic strength. These accomplishments can be attributed to Des Moines’ talented workforce, impressive education ranking and strong business economy. The following economic, demographic and workforce data support Des Moines’ successes and reputation as one of the best cities for business. 

  • Des Moines MSA Unemployment Rate
  • U.S. Census & American Community Survey
  • Des Moines Regional Population Growth
  • Fastest-Growing Industries in the Des Moines Region

Cost Data

Des Moines celebrates its competitive business costs and affordable cost of living that help make it a Top 10 city in which to live and work. 

Business Costs

The cost of doing business in Des Moines is 15 percent lower than that of the nation as a whole.

  • The 2017 Standard New Employer Unemployment Insurance Tax rate for non-construction employers is 1 percent on a $29,300 taxable wage base. 

Cost of Living

For Des Moines residents, it is typical to find combined cost of living savings 10 percent below the national average. 

Cost of Living Index Calculator

Compare prices from individual urban areas against those in Des Moines.

Economic Indicators

Economic indicators ranging from growth in the workforce to change in population to the number of building permits show Des Moines' momentum. Learn more

Workforce Demographics 

Des Moines' highly specialized, highly educated workforce and low unemployment rate make locating a business in the region even more enticing. A new public high school graduation rate has been released for Iowa, with the state now graduating 91.3 percent (2016) of its students. The region's rate sits slightly higher, and with 35 percent of the region's workforce having attained a bachelor's degree or higher, major employers from key industries around the region tap into Iowa's talent to make their businesses more efficient and profitable. Des Moines also offers screening, assessment and testing services so that companies can select the right people, plus training and reimbursements allow companies to save valuable time to train these workers up front. 

Thanks to Iowa's job training program and campaigns such as EDGE 75x25, local internship programs and higher education institutions that work closely with local companies to collaborate curriculum programs based on key industry needs, Iowa's workforce is thriving and continues to increase. To follow are a few of Des Moines' impressive workforce demographics. 

Labor Data

For information, patterns and trends regarding Des Moines' workforce, visit The Partnership's DSM USA Research, Stats and Data Hub. According to the Greater Des Moines Workforce Analysis (September 2016), the total potential labor force in the region is 653,030.


Des Moines includes eight regional counties—Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek and Warren.

For more demographic details and free reports on the counties and localities, access the Available Sites and Buildings page.