A survey of the top executives of 22 of the state’s largest businesses shows they’re cautiously optimistic about Iowa’s economy improving in the coming months.

Elliott Smith, executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC), says the IBC’s fourth quarter survey of its members was nearly unchanged from a survey conducted three months ago. “Good, solid numbers in sales, capital spending and employment…but, really, none of those numbers moved more than a point or so off of the third quarter survey results,” Smith said.

The overall IBC Economic Outlook Survey Index rose to 62 — one point higher than three months ago. Any score above 50 indicates “positive” business sentiment.

The CEOs are asked about their expectations in sales, capital spending and employment over the next six months. “We have some cautious optimism going into the next six months,” Smith said. “I think that attitude is pervasive amongst most of our CEOs.”

There are several things that have the IBC members concerned. “One would be all the activity going on in Washington, D.C. and whether or not there’s any sort of agreement imminent on handling the budget and debt issues,” Smith said. “Certainly, Europe remains a concern in terms of stable government and budget issues over there.”

You can check out the full IBC Economic Outlook Survey here.