IBC members expecting lower sales, employment ahead

By CBJ News Staff

The difficult business climate will continue to challenge the state’s largest companies through the end of the year, according to the latest Economic Outlook Survey released today by the Iowa Business Council (IBC).

Sixty percent of members surveyed said they expect sales to be lower in the next six months, while 45% expect employment to be down. One-third of respondents said they expect capital spending to increase.

Half of the respondents noted layoffs or furloughs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those employers, 80% expect to rehire some or nearly all of that workforce. Sixty percent expect to make these rehires in the coming seven to nine months, with an unknown rehire date for the remaining 40%. Only 10% of survey respondents said hiring has increased.

The survey’s overall economic outlook index rose to 41.25, increasing 3.75 points from the first quarter’s reading of 37.5, which was the lowest point since 2009. Any measurement below 50 indicates negative sentiment for the coming six months.

“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, chair of the Iowa Business Council, said in a release. “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.”

The IBC represents 22 of the state’s largest employers. Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by IBC members since 2004. CBJ