A slaughterhouse is a safer place to work than it used to be, but data gathered by federal regulators doesn't capture all the risks faced by meat and poultry workers, according to a new government report.

Courtesy of Oxfam America

Thousands of chainmail-clad workers with knives and hooks keep a modern poultry plant running, churning out the millions of pounds of poultry we eat every year. The job is difficult and demanding, especially for line employees who make the same motion for hours, struggling to keep up with a fast-moving disassembly line. 

A new report from Oxfam America paints an even bleaker picture. 

Paul Townsend/Flickr

A group of Iowa’s business leaders reports a slowdown in the number of people they expect to hire. The decline in the Iowa Business Council's latest report is likely a result of global economic forces driving down exports.

The survey finds that 30 percent of the group’s CEOs and chairmen say they’ll likely hire in the next six months. That’s down from 45 percent in the group’s December survey.

The construction industry in Iowa is moving into a busy first-half of 2016 with not enough workers to handle the jobs. Efforts are underway to attract more young people into the field.

Leaders in the building industry are promoting construction careers to students as young as middle-school age as a way to fill a gap in skilled laborers in Iowa.  The president of the Master Builders of Iowa, Chad Kleppe, says there are not enough carpenters, ironworkers, masons and other construction workers to attend to the hundreds of building projects in progress.

TechShop / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons

Iowa's unemployment rate of 3.8% reflects nearly full employment across the state. But there are many industries that need workers, and that demand is reflected in the Iowa Hot Jobs report. Deputy Director of Iowa Workforce Development and the State Labor Market Information Administrator, Ed Wallace says jobs in the biosciences, health care, education, and agriculture continue to grow. The challenge lies in making sure those looking for work know which jobs are in most demand.

Photo by Amy Mayer

Technology has transformed farming, one of the Midwest’s biggest industries, and while fewer people are now needed to actually work the farm field, new types of jobs keep many office workers tied to agriculture.

Beyond operating a tractor and a combine, today’s farmers need to manage all kinds of information. From information technology to web development, the skills that have changed our economy have transformed the agriculture industry as well.

Richard / flickr

What is at the heart of the American dream?

Mark Botham

What is at the heart of the American dream? Bigger houses, fancier clothes, faster cars... or is it about having time for family, friends and community?

For decades University of Iowa Associate Professor Benjamin Hunnicutt has studied why we work as hard as we do, why we’re work obsessed, and how attitudes about work and leisure in our culture have changed over time. His is also the author of Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream.

On economic progress -

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

For 25 years has ranked the best and worst jobs. Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. 

Host Ben Kieffer revisits conversations with a biomedical engineer and an audiologist, two jobs that made the best list.  He also speaks to an oil rig worker and a newspaper reporter, two jobs on the worst list.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Every presidency ebbs and flows.  President Obama seems to be going through an ebb, as his job approval rating drops to the lowest of his presidency.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch, former Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and Donna Hoffman, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, about the ebb and flow of presidencies through history, and what they can tell us about presidential popularity today.

dbelskysuny / flickr

For 25 years, has ranked the best and worst jobs.   Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a few people that are on the best and worst lists.  Find out what people in those jobs think about their ranking.  It includes a Biomedical Engineer, an Oil Rig Worker, an Audiologist, and a Newspaper Reporter.   

Pat Blank

Farm equipment maker Unverferth Manufacturing Incorporated is taking a leap of faith by adding jobs with the help of a 600 thousand dollar boost from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The Shell Rock plant is Butler County’s largest employer with 425 current jobs. The state money will be used to build a  6 million dollar expansion and create 75 jobs over three years.

Clay Masters / IPR

Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are over. And both presidential candidates were in Iowa yesterday.  Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were using new jobs numbers to sway voters.

More than 8,000 people crowded outside Jessup Hall at the University of Iowa. A late afternoon rain soaked the crowd… many dressed in Hawkeye yellow and black as well as ponchos.  But the sky cleared up for Vice President Joe Biden to introduce the president.

Romney campaign

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made a campaign stop at a manufacturing plant in Bettendorf Wednesday - not far from where President Obama wrapped up his three-day campaign swing through Iowa a week earlier.

New Skills=New Life

Jul 2, 2012
Pat Blank

The job market can be a challenge for anyone these days, but imagine what it’s like for someone who’s spent time in prison or who has a less than stellar work history for other reasons.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank reports on an innovative program in Northeast Iowa that’s slowly making a difference.

        In the Quad Cities, Davenport’s St. Ambrose University will soon be opening a new program for training physician assistants.
      The job market is good for the female-dominated profession, but class sizes are limited.