DES MOINES, IOWA (April 6, 2021) — The Iowa Business Council (IBC) has released its first-quarter Economic Outlook Survey for 2021. The report measures member expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment for the next six months. If the index measures above 50, sentiment is positive. The first-quarter survey's overall economic outlook index is 60.42. This marks the third positive quarter in a row, projecting continued confidence as the state emerges from the pandemic.
The latest survey reports that 65 percent of members expect sales will be higher in the next six months. Additionally, 55 percent of members anticipate their company’s hiring levels will be higher in the same time period.
While capital spending-projections remain positive, the index fell to 56.25. The majority of respondents expect no change in this category. This implies a pragmatic, wait-and-see approach as Iowa’s business community surpasses the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.
"Receiving three consecutive quarters of positive index numbers is significant for the state’s economic outlook. This survey instills optimism for Iowa’s overall recovery as the vaccine rollout accelerates and working conditions start to normalize,” explains Tim Yaggi, Chair of the Iowa Business Council.
However, the survey also indicates that IBC members remain concerned about attracting and developing a talented and diverse workforce. Eighty percent of respondents cited this issue as one of their top three primary business challenges.
“Growing a diverse talent-base continues to be the highest point of concern for our members,” says IBC Executive Director Joe Murphy. “The survey results illustrate in real-time the importance of the Iowa Business Council’s top legislative priorities such as affordable childcare, workforce housing and high-speed internet access as we seek to attract and retain a quality workforce across Iowa.”
The Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by IBC members on a quarterly basis since 2004. The report provides insight regarding the projected trends for the state of Iowa, which can be used for business and economic planning. The reported trends have a state-wide impact, especially when considering that IBC companies have a presence in all 99 counties. To review previous Economic Outlook Surveys, please visit www.iowabusinesscouncil.org/news/eos.