The Iowa Business Council’s new survey shows businesses are expecting to maintain or increase employment in the next quarter. IBC executive director, Elliott Smith, says the survey asks businesses about capital spending, sales and employment. “The third quarter economic outlook survey from the Business Council shows a pretty good sustainment of what has been solid economic activity in this year in the state, I think,” Smith says.
The survey uses a 100-point scale to measure each category and found the over index up one point from the last quarter, but up four points from one year ago. The sales index was down two points, but the capital spending indicator increased by six points. “Which is a big move for any of these indicators,” Smith says “and generally that indicates or shows that there’s a growing level of confidence in employers to reinvest in their product lines and develop new ones. And usually that leads to strong employment activity as well, which is our third indicator. That remained at the same record-high level that we’ve seen now for the last couple of quarters.”
While the employment indicator stayed at the same level as three months ago, it was double-digits ahead of the same time last year. “In my mind that’s probably the biggest story out of this particular survey, in that we’re sustaining this historical high, and it’s a full 11 points, almost 20-percent higher than it was a year ago,” Smith says.
The Iowa Business Council includes the top 25 largest employers in the state. Smith says there are some sectors of the manufacturing industry facing challenges right now. “The ag equipment folks right now are dealing with a bit of a softer market, but nothing that I don’t think they haven’t been prepared for and anticipated and won’t weather,” according to Smith. “But that also says something about Iowa’s diversified economy — we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket.”
Smith says Iowa’s economy continues moving in the right direction. “I think the state’s business segment has seen very consistent steady growth. As is usually the case, we don’t go down quite as far as the rest of the country in a recession period, and we don’t always go quite as high when things are booming, good steady progress,” Smith says.
To see more about the survey, go to: www.iowabusinesscouncil.org