OTTUMWA – Ottumwa Economic Development Corp. is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Ottumwa area.  This study will geographically define which communities contribute to Ottumwa’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.


The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Ottumwa area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high quality workforce.


For the success of this study, we will be sending letters to employers in Ottumwa asking that they provide us with aggregate counts of their employees’ residential ZIP codes. This will allow us to determine the scope and scale of Ottumwa’s Laborshed area and better understand where Ottumwa’s workforce resides.


A confidential survey of residents will also be conducted to collect workforce characteristic information specific to the area.  Residents will receive a letter directing them how to take the survey online. Survey questions will cover topics such as: employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits, education level, and type of occupation among other things. However, Iowa Workforce Development will not be asking survey takers identifiable information such as: name, social security number, or date of birth.


OEDC last produced a Laborshed report in late 2016, prior to Iowa Workforce Development taking over the program for the state of Iowa. These reports are typically updated every two years, so information stays current.  The results of each analysis are publicly available online at, or at OEDC’s website If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold at 515-281-3035 or Sharon Stroh, at 641-799-1203.