The Iowa Business Council (IBC) has released its fourth quarter Economic Outlook Survey for 2022.
The report measures member expectations for sales, capital spending and employment for the next six months. If the index measures above 50, sentiment is positive. The fourth quarter survey’s overall economic outlook index is 59.26, up 0.51 index points from the third quarter report.
The survey results were essentially flat compared to the third quarter, stopping a three-quarter decline in overall optimism.
While the overall survey score stayed level, the capital spending and employment indexes declined. Capital spending expectations decreased by 2.08 index points to a value of 54.17 and employment expectations decreased by 5.69 index points to 55.56. Sales expectations increased 9.31 index points to a value of 68.06 compared to the third quarter.
83% of IBC executives listed workforce attraction and retention as a primary business challenge. 77% of IBC executives cite inflation as a primary business concern and 56% reported an unfavorable business climate as a top challenge.
From a workforce perspective, 94% of IBC executives surveyed report that it is “somewhat to very difficult” to hire employees while further reporting more than 7,600 currently open positions in Iowa.
“Despite continued concerns relating to workforce attraction and inflation, IBC members remain positive with respect to Iowa’s economic trajectory,” said Phil Jasper, Chair of the IBC in a release. “Iowa remains resilient in the face of difficult and growing economic challenges and we look forward to working with policymakers at all levels to ensure continued growth and prosperity for all Iowans,” he added.
The Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by IBC members on a quarterly basis since 2004.