The leaders of Iowa’s biggest businesses have a generally rosy outlook for the state’s economy over the next six months. The Iowa Business Council (IBC), which represents 20 of Iowa’s largest companies, has released it’s quarterly Economic Outlook Survey. IBC Executive Director Elliot Smith says while problems in the sub-prime lending industry have hurt markets elsewhere, they have yet to make a big impact in Iowa.
"And that’s reflected, I think, in the results of this survey," Smith says, "sales levels remain high, capital spending expectations are still solid, and generally, employment needs remain good too." Smith says many of Iowa’s business leaders are concerned about the state’s dwindling labor pool.
He says the greatest needs are in higher skilled jobs, with advanced science and math requirements. For the first time in nearly two years, the IBC’s survey shows a few companies predicting lower employment levels. "I think that’s just a general softening of the economy here in the country," Smith says, "people are reaching plateaus in sales and business activity that justify maybe standing back a little bit to see how this sub-prime lending situation plays out."
Ninety percent of the IBC member companies say they plan to maintain or increase hiring, while 10 percent expect to decrease their workforce. The IBC survey is available on-line at www.IowaBusinessCouncil.org .