Iowa Jumps in Female-Owned Business Rankings

Iowa Jumps in Female-Owned Business Rankings

A report from American Express Open released Friday indicates that Iowa now ranks 30th in growth of number of women-owned firms in the country and fourth in overall “”economic clout”” over the past nine years.

This is the same report that for the past three years has ranked Iowa dead-last among the states for increases in women-owned firms and revenue. So, why the jump?

Despite a headline proclaiming Iowa jumped from 51st place to fourth place among U.S. states in terms of performance of women-owned businesses, that conclusion is like comparing apples to oranges, said Julie Weeks, American Express Open research adviser and author of 2016 State of Women Owned Businesses Report.

The reason for the difference: The newest report looks only at the post-recession period, comparing 2009 data with 2016 data. In previous reports in which Iowa ranked 51st for growth in women-owned businesses, the report compared figures from 1997 to the current year.

However, Weeks said the new numbers affirm what Iowa economic development officials have told her, that it seemed like Iowa must be doing better than the 51st ranking had indicated. “”It proves that things have been going much better in Iowa lately,”” she said.

In two of three measures for the post-recession period since 2007, Iowa outperformed the national averages, according to the report.

  • Employment in women-owned firms in Iowa increased by 45 percent to 88,800 employees in 2016 from 2007, compared with U.S. employment growth in women-owned firms of 18.4 percent.
  • Sales by Iowa women-owned firms reached $13.75 billion, a 74.4 percent increase from 2007. Nationally, women-owned business sale increased 35 percent.
  • Iowa had an estimated 86,300 women-owned firms in 2016, a 30.2 percent increase from 2007. By comparison, the number of women-owned firms in the United States increased by 45 percent.

Those three factors — increase in number of firms, employment growth and revenue growth — were combined in the report to calculate an economic clout figure for each state.

In that measure, Iowa ranked fourth among the states for economic clout of its women-owned firms, behind North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas, which all tied for first.

To view the full report, click here.

Business Record Staff, Business Record

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