Iowa Workforce Development Releases Decorah Area Laborshed Study Results

Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) released the Decorah Area Laborshed Study, a comprehensive regional labor market analysis designed to provide valuable insights for businesses, economic developers, and policymakers in the 30-mile radius surrounding Decorah and Winneshiek County.

What is a laborshed area? IWD states, “A laborshed area is defined by its commuting pattern and illustrates which communities contribute to an employment center’s workforce and at what level. To determine the boundaries of a Laborshed area, local employers supply the residential ZIP codes of each of their employees.”

The study offers a detailed assessment of the labor supply and demand dynamics in the Decorah area, encompassing Winneshiek County and surrounding regions. Key findings of the study include:

Labor Force Profile: The Decorah area boasts a diverse and skilled labor force, with strengths across various industries. The highest represented include Healthcare and Social Services at 14.9%, Wholesale and Retail Trade at 13.8%, Education at 12.4%, Manufacturing at 11.3%, Construction at 10.7%, and Agriculture at 9.9%.

Workforce Availability: An estimated 11,764 individuals are likely to accept employment in the Decorah area, and only 3.2% or 1,426 individuals are unemployed. 

Wages: 55.6% of individuals earn an annual salary, with a median of $67,000/year. 38.9% earn an hourly wage, with a median of $28.00/hour. Whereas statewide, 47.5 percent state they are currently receiving an hourly wage, followed by 40.0 percent that receive an annual salary. The current median hourly wage of those who are employed is $22.00 and the median salary is $75,000 per year.

Commute Patterns: The employed are currently commuting an average of 19 minutes one way for an employment opportunity. 

“We are excited to share the findings of the Decorah Area Laborshed Study, which provide a comprehensive understanding of the local labor market dynamics and opportunities for growth,” said Stephanie Fromm, Director of Winneshiek County Development and Tourism. “By leveraging this valuable data, businesses, economic developers, and community leaders can make informed decisions that drive workforce development in the Decorah area.”

For more information about the Decorah Area Laborshed Study and its implications for workforce development and economic growth, visit

Executive Summary – Decorah 2024 (8.5×11)