Iowa business leaders’ hopes aren’t unrealistically high, but they are cautiously optimistic, according to the Iowa Business Council’s latest survey.
Expectations in sales, capital spending and employment for Iowa’s largest employers over the coming six months were steady or modestly higher, the IBC’s Overall Economic Outlook Survey for 2013’s first quarter found.
The IBC’s Index rose to 64 — two points higher from three months ago, but more than two points lower at this time last year.
The survey was completed by the corporate members of the Iowa Business Council during the second half of February, the results of which were released Friday.
“IBC members are more optimistic regarding the economy and their respective businesses and capital investments,” said Stan Askren, chairman, president and CEO of HNI Corp. in Muscatine and IBC chairman. “Tempering the optimism is the uncertainty surrounding federal government debt and budget issues.”
The 2013 first-quarter Index is 71, three points higher than last quarter (68) and the same as a year ago (71).
Ninety percent of the CEOs expect steady or increased sales over the next six months:
Ten percent of survey respondents expect sales levels to decrease.
Eighty-six percent of IBC corporate members expect steady or increased capital spending levels through May. The same number said they anticipate hiring levels for the next six months to remain steady or grow.
IBC’s members are the executives of the state’s 21 largest businesses, the three Regent university presidents and Iowa’s biggest bank associations.