The top concerns among the CEOs of the state’s largest businesses haven’t changed much in the new year. Elliott Smith is executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC).
“Business leaders in the state really continue to be concerned about workforce issues and the availability of the quality, skilled employees that they need,” Smith said.
The IBC has released its annual review of the state’s economic climate — what the group calls the Iowa Competitiveness Index. Smith says the “report card” shows business leaders are struggling to find qualified workers in order to expand their operations or replace employees who are retiring.
“It’s been an ongoing issue for a number of years now and it’s a real issue that continues to be on a challenge list for corporate executives, recruiters, and economic development officials,” Smith said. “I think that’s the overriding key priority out of the 2016 Competitiveness Index.”
This is the sixth year the IBC has compiled the Index, which examines data in five areas deemed important to the state’s prosperity; economic growth, education and workforce readiness, governance and fiscal matters, and health and well-being.
The index is released just prior to the start of the legislative session. The IBC is pushing state lawmakers to find ways to constrain “explosive” Medicaid costs. “A lot of that is driven by efficient and effective delivery of services,” Smith said. “A lot of that is also based on better disease prevention and management through addressing all the growing chronic disease conditions in the state and things like obesity and smoking.”
In addition to the top executives of the largest businesses in the state, the Iowa Business Council is comprised of the three Regent university presidents, and the president of the Iowa Banking Association. Learn more about the IBC’s 2016 Iowa Competitiveness Index at: iowabusinesscouncil.org