Muscatine is a bustling manufacturing hub

Updated: May. 8, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - Muscatine was settled in 1833 by frontiersmen. Today, it’s a bustling manufacturing hub for 24,000 residents.

Brad Bark, who is the mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce, said the area is filled with a hardworking workforce.

“Our county is really strong in manufacturing. World-known corporations as well.”

Manufacturing is Muscatine’s engine. According to census data, the industry accounts for over a third of the city’s laborforce, nearly 4,100. And the jobs pay well. A typical production worker makes about $75,000.

Considering a typical home costs just $115,000, city leaders say Muscatine is a good place to earn a living.

“There’s always room for opportunities,” the mayor said. “Housing is a big one in Muscatine. Housing is No. 1, I would say.”

That would help meet a growing demand with the city’s largest employer, HNI.

“It’s a big deal. They’re our largest employer, employing about 3,700 in our city limits. After sitting down and talking with them, they need more workforce in Muscatine. It’s a big deal.”

HNI was founded as a business that employed veterans returning from World War II. Today, it manufactures office furniture and fireplaces.

Vice president and chief legal counsel Steven Bradford said HNI and Muscatine residents are deeply intertwined.

“If you think about Muscatine as a community itself, broadly 24,000 people, just given the number of people we employ plus the revenue we generate. We’re proud to be an integral part of Muscatine.”

HNI will close on an acquisition next month that will add another thousand employees to the company’s overall workforce.

It’s part of a bright future city leaders envision for the company and the community.

“Wow,” the mayor said. “There is a lot the Muscatine has offered, is offering and in the future, what are the plans to continue to have people come into Muscatine to live? A lot of great things happening in Muscatine.”