The latest survey of Iowa’s largest employers shows they’re growing more confident about the economy. Elliott Smith, executive director of the Iowa Business Council, says the survey asks 20 business leaders about their plans for the next six months.

“Generally, the survey results look good,” Smith said. “For the second consecutive quarter, we’re see all indicators move ahead.” An index compiled from the surveys hit 48.7 in the third quarter. Any score below 50 on the 100-point scale is considered negative, but Smith says the outlook on sales is particularly encouraging.

“We saw sales actually move into positive sentiment territory,” Smith said. “Sales landed at 54…that tells us that corporate executives see sales trending ever so slightly, but still in positive territory.” The third-quarter report also showed the index for capital spending at 49, up from 33 in the second-quarter. Employment posted an index of 43, up from 38.

“Since the first quarter, we have seen numbers move ahead, back towards positive territory,” Smith said. “I guess we would see that as an encouraging sign of growth and activity in our state’s business climate.” The members of the Iowa Business Council , combined, employ around 210,000 Iowans.