Des Moines

While most people think of Iowa's economy as largely corn-based, Des Moines has transformed itself into a mecca for insurance companies. About 70 insurance firms are headquartered in Des Moines, which helped this city of 200,000 maintain a vibrant economy even as the rest of the country suffered during the Great Recession. Another stabilizing factor is the large number of government jobs in this state capital. Farms and other agricultural businesses, from equipment manufacturers to seed distributors, also continue to play a key role in the region's economy. Located almost in the center of Iowa, Des Moines is 140 miles east of Omaha, Nebraska, and 330 miles west of Chicago. Tourists are few…

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