The Iowa Business Council survey of plans for the some of the state’s largest businesses shows good news for the next six months. I-B-C executive director, Elliott Smith, says the survey ranks sales, spending and employment on a 100 point scale. Smith says for the first time in six quarters, none of the indicators are on the negative side of the scale, with two of them moving into the positive side. Sales moved up eight points to 58, while spending was up six points to 55.
While the hiring indicator was up six points, it was right in the middle at 50. Smith says the employment outlook has been moving up slower. He says a few large companies have called back some employees, and the employment number has moved from its historical low in the first quarter of 2009. Smith says employment tends to be a “lagging indicator” of improvement in the economy.
Smith says the sales outlook has shown improvement for four straight quarters. Smith says capital spending on machinery and equipment has also been going up, and they remain hopeful that employment will also move up in the next quarter or two into the positive category. Smith says it’s clear the economy is on the turnaround.
Smith says one year ago they were wondering where the bottom was and now they’ve seen a good four quarters of steady growth upwards. The Iowa Business Council is a nonprofit, self-funded organization whose 24 members are the top executives of 20 of the largest businesses in the state, the three Regent university presidents, and Iowa’s largest banking association.