IBC executive director, Joe Murphy, says the survey continues a trend. He says it is the fourth straight survey where they have a positive trend. The report measures member expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment for the next six months. The answers are scored on a 100-point scale and the latest overall outlook index is 67.
“When you look at all of our indications, all of our subreports, everything is looking very, very strong,” according to Murphy. “Iowans continue to get vaccinated, people are coming back to work, businesses across the entire state are booming –whether that’s the large businesses we represent at the Iowa business council represent — or even small and mid-sized businesses as well. Things are going really well.”
Murphy says one key is that Iowa didn’t take the drastic measures during the pandemic that some other states took. “I think the fact that our state did not issue a mandatory shutdown was extremely positive. We’re seeing the results of that good decision-making being played out right now in the economy,” Murphy says. “The fact again that we projecting such a high-level of optimism in Iowa’s economic output represents that good timing. And I think other states, whether it be our neighbors, or other states across the country — those that did issue those shutdown orders are certainly not bouncing back as quickly as Iowa has.”
The optimism comes with continued concern about finding enough employees.
“The workforce situation in Iowa has never been more acute. I think the fact that businesses are opening up and have been open for some time is good news. The fact that people in their personal lives are more engaging in the economy right now is exasperating this situation,” Murphy says.
He says they will continue pushing to get more workers. “We need every single body that we possibly can to be employed. Iowa has had a consistent issue with that,” Murphy says. “We have a very low unemployment rate and a very high labor participation rate — which are very good things — but the fact is, we just need more people in this state. And so we need to encourage folks to come into the workplace, and then encourage people to come to Iowa to live and make a career.”
To see more of the Economic Outlook Survey, go to www.iowabusinesscouncil.org.