The Iowa Business Council’s fourth quarter survey saw little change expected in the economy in the next six months for the 20 largest businesses in the state. The council uses sales, capital spending and employment projections to rank the outlook on a 100 point scale. Council executive director Elliott Smith says the ranking for the fourth quarter was 47-point-seven, down one point from the third quarter.
Smith says projections for sales and employment were up slightly, while the outlook for capital spending was basically unchanged. Smith says the overall numbers Smith says they were glad to see the employment number go up slightly as he says people want to feel optimistic about the job prospects for the coming year. He says while the employment number is still in the negative sentiment area below 50 on the scale, the increase gives reason for optimism.
Smith says businesses are still in a wait mode on whether the economy has made the move to a turnaround. He says companies are still evaluating the impact of the various incentive packages, and stimulus measures over the last several months and haven’t been able to really judge the degree of success of those programs yet. While the holiday sales season doesn’t directly impact the businesses in the council, Smith says the sales are an indicator that is watched.
Smith says “optimism tends to radiate outward and if people are feeling comfortable in retail purchases, that means they are feeling comfortable in the jobs they have to generate that income.” Smith says while they’d like to see all the numbers in the survey moving up, holding steady is a positive sign.