Iowa Business Council again projects positive six-month economic outlook

However, second quarter survey results decline across all categories

The Iowa Business Council (IBC) has released its second-quarter Economic Outlook Survey (EOS) for 2024, again projecting a positive economic outlook for the next six months.

The report measures expectations of IBC members for sales, capital spending and employment for the next six months. If the index measures above 50, sentiment is positive.

The survey’s overall economic outlook index is 55.26, a decrease of 7.9 points from the previous quarter and 5.17 points below the historical average of 60.43.

While overall sentiment remains positive, there are growing and increased concerns across all three subcategories, according to the IBC:

  • Sales expectations were down 9.21 points to a value of 57.89
  • Capital spending expectations were down 9.21 points to a value of 53.95
  • Employment expectations were down 5.26 points to a value of 53.95

“While IBC members continue to view Iowa’s economy in a positive light, we are clear-eyed with respect to the persistent challenges facing our companies,” said Phil Jasper, president of Raytheon and chair of the Iowa Business Council, in a release. “Whether that be navigating stressed supply chains, continued workforce shortages, or combating inflation, Iowa companies are not immune to challenges on a national scale, and that sentiment is reflected in the latest survey results.”

Concerns relating to workforce attraction and retention remain the top concern, with 63% of surveyed IBC executives listing it as a primary business challenge. An unfavorable business climate (national supply chain, infrastructure, and federal regulations) was cited by 47% of IBC executives, while challenges surrounding inflation and growing concerns about the domestic economy tied with 32% to round out the top three primary business concerns.

From a workforce perspective, 68% of IBC executives surveyed report that it is currently somewhat to very difficult to hire employees, down from 85% from the 2023 fourth-quarter survey.

“Despite decreases across all three surveyed metrics, the IBC retains a positive outlook for Iowa’s economy,” IBC president Joe Murphy said. “As they always have, Iowa’s leading companies continue to skillfully navigate a host of challenges while keeping an eye towards future opportunities for investment and expansion in Iowa.”

The IBC Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by Iowa Business Council members on a quarterly basis since 2004. The report provides insight regarding the projected trends for the state of Iowa, which can be used for business and economic planning. The reported trends have a statewide impact, especially when considering that IBC companies have a presence in all 99 counties.

To review previous Economic Outlook Surveys, go to