Executives from 22 of the state’s largest businesses continue to be positive in a survey on their expectations for the first quarter of 2022. Iowa Business Council Executive Director Joe Murphy. says their index measures expectations for sales, capital spending and employment for the next six months.

“Our overall metric score is over 65 points, which is solidly in that positive territory. For context — anything that scores over 50 represents positive economic sentiment — so we are very well within that area,” Murphy says. While positive — Murphy says the numbers are down a bit as unemployment shortages and supply chain issues continue.

He says attaining, attracting, and developing a quality workforce remains the number one concern, followed closely by the unfavorable business climate. “Which definitely includes supply chain issues, infrastructure issues, regulations, things like that,” he says. Murphy says the slight drop came after things were looking very positive coming out of the final quarter of 2021.

“We were relatively optimistic that conditions would get better with respect to the supply chain,” Murphy says. “But as we have gone through the first quarter of 2022 that optimism has receded a bit as we think about the future in the next six months. That does continue to give us a little bit of concern and if those supply chain and logistics issues can’t be cleared up, costs continue to increase — and that has an impact on the workforce, and around we go.” Inflation is another issue causing concern.

“Inflation continues to eat into a businesses’ ability to plan to forecast, to allocate capital. And then as you’re thinking of our manufacturing members that are trying to ship their goods —
the fuel cost that it requires are increasing, seemingly every single day,” Murphy says. Murphy says if there are good changes in some of those issues, then the positive numbers will get even better.

“The takeaway here is that we still remain positive, and that represents seven consecutive quarters of overall positive economic sentiment,” Murphy says. You can see the full I-B-C Economic Outlook Survey at iowabusinesscouncil.org.