Related Topics:

Labor Market Information


The content of the Laborshed Survey was designed originally by the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) with assistance from the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at UNI. Iowa Workforce Development Labor Market Information Division has made adjustments and additions to the survey instrument as needed.

In order to obtain current and accurate labor force information for the Laborshed area, IWD contracted a vendor, SmartLead, to administer a random household telephone survey to individuals residing within the Laborshed boundaries.

The proportion of individuals who rely on cellphones for their telephone service continues to increase. Therefore, IWD requires that the sample of telephone numbers that the survey vendor uses to conduct the interviews include a percentage of cellphone numbers. This requirement serves as an attempt to improve the overall demographic composition of the sample (in terms of age, race/ethnicity, education and wealth).

The content of the survey was designed by the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) with assistance from the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at UNI. The overall goal of the process, is to collect a minimum of 405 valid phone surveys completed by respondents 18 to 64 years of age (this number varies based upon the population of the area surveyed and can be as high as 1,200). Validity of survey results is estimated at a confidence interval of +/- 5 percent of the responses analyzed in each study. The filtering of variables to provide further analysis may decrease the representation of the entire population (405, for example) which will, in turn, increase the confidence interval. For instance, only respondents that indicated they were employed will be asked questions related to their current employment, reducing the sample size.

To ensure that an even distribution of respondents is achieved, an equal number of surveys are completed in three separate survey zones. The three zones created are classified as Zone 1) the node community, Zone 2) ZIP codes adjacent or near Zone 1 that have a moderate number of residents working in the node or are within 20 miles of the node and Zone 3) the ZIP codes in outlying areas with a low concentration of residents working in the node. This distribution of surveys is an attempt to avoid a clustering of respondents in the node or surrounding areas. The concentration level of surveys completed in each ZIP code is based upon its population. 

The level of commuters into the node for work is determined through an employer survey. IWD mails a ZIP code reporting form to all employers in the node community with five or more employees. Employers are asked to provide counts of their employees by their residential ZIP code. This establishes a commuting pattern for each employment center and provides the concentration levels of residents per ZIP code that travel into the node for work. 

For the household telephone survey, respondents are asked questions to determine their gender, age, education level, place of residence and current employment status. Employed respondents are also asked to identify the location of their employer, employer type, occupation, years of employment in their occupation, type of employment, current salary or wage, additional education/skills possessed, number of jobs currently held, distance traveled to work and the hours worked per week. Employed respondents are asked how likely they are to change employers or employment, if they are actively seeking new employment, how far they are willing to travel for employment, the wage required for them to change employment and the benefits desired for new employment. Underemployment is estimated by examining those employees who desire more hours of work than offered in their current position; possess additional education/skills that they do not utilize in their current position; and/or earn wages insufficient enough to keep them above the poverty level while working 35 or more hours per week.

Respondents in the 18-64 age range self-identifying as either unemployed, a homemaker or retired are asked a series of questions to determine what job characteristics and benefits are most important to them when considering employment, the reasons for unemployment, obstacles to employment and how far they are willing to travel to accept employment. Information on previous employers and skills is also gathered for these sectors.

Results of the survey data is compiled by IWD and disseminated through various publications. No individual record information is ever released. Results are reported in aggregate and the participation of respondents is kept confidential.

Occupation-level data is often not available for analysis due to the wide variety of occupations reported without enough within a particular job title to provide further analysis. Due to this, occupations are coded into seven different categories for analysis at a higher level. Those categories are listed below along with examples of job titles that would be included within each category.

  • Agricultural
    • Agricultural Equipment Operators
    • Agricultural Workers
    • Farmers & Ranchers
    • Farmworkers & Laborers
  • Clerical/Administrative Support
    • Customer Service Representatives
    • Office Clerks
    • Office Support Workers
    • Secretaries & Administrative Assistants
  • Managerial/Administrative
    • Administrative Services
    • Financial Managers
    • General Operations Managers
    • Human Resources
    • Managers
  • Production, Construction, and Material Handling
    • Assemblers & Fabricators
    • Carpenters
    • Electricians
    • Helpers, Laborers & Material Movers, Hand
    • Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders
    • Plumbers
    • Truck Drivers
    • Welders
  • Professional, Paraprofessional, and Technical
    • Accountants
    • Business Operation Specialists
    • Computer Systems Analysts
    • Engineers
    • Registered Nurses
    • Scientists
    • Software Developers
    • Teachers
  • Sales
    • Cashiers
    • Insurance Sales Agents
    • Real Estate Sales Agents
    • Retail Salespersons
    • Sales Representatives
    • Telemarketers
  • Service
    • Childcare Workers
    • Hairdressers, Hairstylists, & Cosmetologists
    • Personal Care Aides
    • Security Guards
    • Waiters & Waitresses