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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES – A new survey of Iowa businesses issued today indicates a marked improvement in prospects for employment, sales and capital spending for the coming six months.
The quarterly business index compiled by the Iowa Business Council last month rose to 62.3 – the highest level in nearly two years. The index measuring Iowa's overall economic outlook based upon survey results by 20 corporate members in Iowa rose by eight points over the past three months and was up 24 points from one year ago.
“These survey results provide evidence of a growing confidence by business leaders in the long-term prospects for the markets they serve,” said Tom Aller, president of Cedar Rapids-based Interstate Power & Light – an Alliant Energy company – and 2010 chair of the Iowa Business Council.
Aller noted that the depth and extent of the recovery continues to hinge on whether business reforms being formulated by the federal government will have a limiting affect on the economy. The growing magnitude of budget issues in Europe also may have an impact, he said.
“However, the IBC Economic Outlook sales index indicator has moved noticeably higher after bottoming back” in the first quarter of 2009, Aller said. “This suggests companies of all sizes in Iowa are beginning to adjust production levels and inventories in anticipation of increased business activity. The Iowa economy often is quite resilient in the face of challenging times, and these improved survey numbers are proof of that.”
The quarterly business survey found that 85 percent of responding Iowa corporations expected hiring levels for the next six months to remain steady or to grow. The remaining 15 percent expected employment needs to decrease. The overall optimism reflected a 10-point increase from the previous quarter and a 22-point jump from one year earlier.
Also, 90 percent of the survey respondents expected steady or increased sales for the remainder of 2010, while 10 percent expected sales levels to decline over the next six months. Those figures represented a nine-point jump from last quarter and a 23-point boost compared to last year's second-quarter survey results.
All but 5 percent of the participants in the latest IBC survey expected investments in facilities, equipment and other capital spending to be steady or increase through November – a level that was up five points from last quarter and 27 points from a year ago.
The Iowa Business Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, self-funded organization founded in 1985 whose 24 members include the top executives of 20 of Iowa's largest businesses, as well as the three presidents at Iowa's regent universities and Iowa's largest banking association.
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