Maytag pushes county to top in state for wages in manufacturing

Maytag pushes county to top in state for wages in manufacturing
Date August 08, 2005
Section(s) Local News


Local employment statistics leave no doubt: As Maytag goes, so go Newton and Jasper County.

Maytag is the county’s largest employer, and its paychecks push Jasper County to Iowa’s top spot for average annual manufacturing wages: $50,446. That’s 25 percent above the statewide average of $39,865, according to state statistics.

In 2003, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development reported that manufacturing was Jasper County’s largest private economic sector, employing 3,870 people — 27.6 percent of the county’s 14,013 jobs.

With 1,000 fewer jobs, government was Jasper County’s second-largest employment sector.

Countywide, the average manufacturing wage in 2003 was $970 a week. As a result, those 3,870 jobs pumped $3.75 million a week into the local economy. For the year, the total was a whopping $195.2 million.

And Maytag is the dominant force, accounting for 72 percent of the manufacturing jobs. Other local companies in the manufacturing sector include The Vernon Company, Midwest Manufacturing and Rock Communications.

For all occupations, Jasper County’s average weekly wage in 2003 was $627, or $32,604 a year, the fifth highest in the state.

The state data suggest a grim outcome if Newton and Jasper County lose Maytag manufacturing or corporate jobs.

From 2002 to 2003, Jasper County lost 493 manufacturing jobs – 11.3 percent of the sector. Even though average wages in the group rose from $907 to $970, the lost jobs meant a net reduction of $10.5 million flowing into the local economy.

Employment at Maytag production and headquarters facilities has declined significantly in the past year. Layoffs at the plant, with more scheduled next month, have dropped employment levels to near 1,350. Maytag also underwent a corporate restructuring last year that eliminated 20 percent of its salaried workforce, an estimated 1,100 people companywide. Though corporate officials won’t comment, estimates are as high as 500 people losing their positions at the Maytag headquarters in the past year.

These losses will start to appear in the next statewide workforce figures, but what won’t be measured is the impact on the rest of the local economy, which depends on the payrolls of local employers.

Economists estimate that each dollar earned by a worker rolls over five to seven times in the local economy. With fewer manufacturing paychecks to be spent, all other local employment sectors are affected as well.


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