CORONAVIRUS

Iowa Association of Business and Industry lowers second-quarter expectations

“Uncertainty is never good for business, and members are concerned about the unknown,” Iowa Association of Business and Industry President Mike Ralston said as the organization released its less-than-optimistic survey for second quarter 2020 expectations.

Citing concerns over potential supply disruptions caused by the spreading coronavirus, Ralston said in a statement Tuesday, “It’s not clear whether this will be a short-term or long-term issue.”

The new survey of the Iowa association’s 1,500 member companies — about half of which are manufacturers — reflected an anticipated drop in hiring, sales and capital expenditure in the April-through-June period.

“ABI members are already impacted by coronavirus. It affects so many things we don’t think about,” Ralston added.

Among the responses:

• Forty-one percent of respondents said they expect sales to remain the same over the quarter. Forty-seven percent believed sales will grow.

By contrast, 2019 second-quarter sales were projected to grow by 73 percent, according to a survey conducted last year.

• While 19 percent of respondents said they expect their employee head count to remain the same, 78 percent anticipate they will do no additional hiring.

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• While 79 percent in the first quarter had said they intended to make capital expenditures, that number dropped to 56 percent for the second quarter.

A continuing scarcity of skilled labor also contributed to respondents’ lowered expectations.

Survey results can be seen at https://bit.ly/2TCny12.

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