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 DSM's talented workforce, impressive education ranking and strong business economy. The following economic, demographic and workforce data support DSM's successes and reputation as one of the best cities for business. 

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

For more information, contact Marlena Bandurski, Research Manager for Economic Development.

Cost Data

DSM 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

According to Moody's Analytics, the cost of doing business in DSM is 17 percent lower than that of the nation as a whole.

  • The 2019 Standard New Employer Unemployment Insurance Tax rate for non-construction employers is 1 percent on a $30,600 taxable wage base.

Cost of Living

For DSM 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 DSM.

Economic Indicators

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

Workforce Demographics 

DSM's highly specialized, highly educated workforce and low unemployment rate make locating a business in the region even more enticing. The state is currently graduating 91.3 percent (2016) of its public high school students according to figures released by the National Center for Education Statistics. The region's rate sits slightly higher, and with 37 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. DSM 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 DSM's impressive workforce demographics. 

Labor Data

For information, patterns and trends regarding DSM's workforce, visit The Partnership's DSM USA Research, Stats and Data Hub. According to the Greater Des Moines Workforce Analysis, the estimated potential labor force in the regional laborshed area is 644,590.


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

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