Business

Iowa companies pessimistic about future

But they are less so than in March, Iowa Business Council says

Brewed Awakenings coffee shop is seen with closed and for sale-signs posted on May 10. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Brewed Awakenings coffee shop is seen with closed and for sale-signs posted on May 10. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

As the economy reopens but the coronavirus still looms, businesses are slightly more optimistic, according to an Iowa Business Council survey.

The council’s latest quarterly Economic Outlook Survey — gauging their expectations for the next six months — reported an index of 41.25. Anything below 50 represents negative sentiment in the business community.

It’s a 3.75 point increase from last quarter’s 37.5 index — the lowest since 2009.

“As opposed to the Great Recession, when the IBC’s Economic Outlook Survey saw two straight quarters of decline before rebound, we are inching up after just one declining quarter,” Mary Andringa, chairwoman of the council and board chairwoman of Pella-based Vermeer, said in a statement.

“We’re hopeful this trend line continues as we build consumer confidence and supply chains reconfigure to address today’s needs while keeping our team members and customers safe.”

Results from the survey are far from ideal, though. Sixty percent of respondents expect sales to be lower in the rest of 2020, and half of respondents have enacted furloughs or layoffs.

Sixty percent of those respondents expect rehiring to occur in the next seven to nine months.

Another 45 percent anticipate employment to decrease in the next six months.

The survey consists of responses from its 22 members, decision makers from companies that include Alliant Energy, Casey’s General Stores, Collins Aerospace, Hy-Vee, MidAmerican Energy and UnityPoint Health.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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