Iowa’s largest employers recorded declines in three economic indicators for the third quarter, but they continued to express a positive, more cautious outlook for the next six months.
The Iowa Business Council on Tuesday reported an overall economic outlook survey index of 61, seven points lower than three months ago and four points ahead of this time last year.
The indexes for levels of sales, capital spending, and employment recorded declines in the latest survey.
The sales outlook survey index is 67, six points lower than last quarter and two points higher than a year ago. Ninety percent of the CEOs expect steady or increased sales over the next six months, substantially higher (10 percent), higher (51 percent), or no change (29 percent). Ten percent of survey respondents expect sales levels to decrease.
The capital spending index is 60, which is nine points below last quarter but six points better than the same quarter last year. Seventy-six percent of the Iowa Business Council corporate members expect steady or increased capital spending levels through February, substantially higher (10 percent), higher (37 percent), or no change (29 percent).
Twenty-four percent of survey respondents expect capital spending ( investments in facilities and equipment) to decline.
The employment spending index is 57, six points lower than three months ago and four points higher than this time last year. Eighty-six percent expect hiring levels for the next six months to remain steady or grow — substantially higher (zero percent), higher (38 percent), or no change (48 percent).
Fourteen percent expect employment needs to decline.
Stan Askren, chairman of the Iowa Business Council, said tighter global markets and end-of-the year federal tax and budget economic uncertainty in the United States, influenced the opinions of CEOs who were surveyed.
The Iowa Business Council is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization whose 25 members are the top executives of 21 of the largest businesses in the state, the three Regent university presidents and Iowa’s largest banking association.