Iowa, Midwest Business Sentiment Sours
April 2, 2020
By George C, Ford, The Gazette
Two newly released and broad-reaching economic reports show a sharp drop in business sentiment in Iowa and across the Midwest — directly attributed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Creighton University’s Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, tumbled in March to 46.7 from February’s 52.8. The index — which looks at Iowa and eight other Midwestern states — had registered above 50 during the past three months.
And the overall economic outlook index for the next six months in the Iowa Business Council’s first-quarter survey recorded one of its lowest points since 2009.
“COVID-19 had a smaller impact on the manufacturing sector than other areas of the economy more directly tied to the consumer,” said Ernie Goss, director of Creighton’s Economic Forecasting Group.
In the Iowa Business Council survey, released Thursday, some 55 percent of respondents said they anticipated their employment will remain the same in the next six months. But about 30 percent expected those numbers will drop. A measure below 50 indicates negative sentiment. On a related note, more than half of the respondents said they expected sales will fall by more than 50 percent in that time period.
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