IBC's 2021 Q3 Economic Outlook Survey Released

October 6, 2021

IBC Projects Positive Six-Month Economic Outlook
Survey Yields Optimistic Results for Fifth Straight Quarter

DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Business Council (IBC) has released its third-quarter Economic Outlook Survey for 2021. 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 third-quarter survey's overall economic outlook index is 65.41. This marks the fifth positive quarter in a row, projecting continued confidence in the state’s pandemic recovery efforts.  

While outlooks remain strong for the next six months, expectations have leveled off slightly in most categories. Sales expectations fell 1.25 points to an index score of 70. The employment index fell 2.5 points to 66.25. While the majority of respondents (55%) expect their workforce to grow, 40% do not anticipate a change in employment. Capital spending decreased 1.25 points to an index score of 66.25.

Ongoing hiring concerns persist across the state. 100% of respondents reported that hiring is somewhat difficult to very difficult. Members reported more than 12,600 open positions across their companies. Additionally, 90% of respondents report their supply chain has been negatively impacted by the lingering effects of the pandemic.

“Attracting and retaining talent is the number one concern for employers across the state. While we are pleased to report a generally positive economic outlook for a fifth consecutive quarter, talent pipeline and supply chain issues stubbornly persist,” says Tim Yaggi, President & CEO of Pella Corporation and Chair of the Iowa Business Council.

“As company leaders look towards the next six months, 55% forecast their employment levels will be higher to substantially higher. In contrast, 40% anticipate no change. However, that does not mean these companies are happy with the status quo. Instead, they are coming to terms with the very real possibility that available jobs won’t get filled over the next six months,” explains Joe Murphy.

The Economic Outlook Survey has been completed by IBC 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 state-wide impact, especially when considering that IBC companies have a presence in all 99 counties. To review previous Economic Outlook Surveys, please visit www.iowabusinesscouncil.org/news/eos.


About the Iowa Business Council

The Iowa Business Council (IBC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose 22 members are the chief decision makers of major Iowa employers. Employing over 172,000 Iowans, IBC member companies have invested billions of dollars of capital in Iowa's commercial infrastructure; lead the way in technology innovation, R&D, and grants procured; and are often the driving financial and volunteer forces behind philanthropic efforts all over the state.

IBC member companies include: Alliant Energy; Casey’s General Stores, Inc.; Collins Aerospace; Corteva Agriscience; Deere & Company; Fareway; HNI Corporation; Hy-Vee, Inc., Iowa Bankers Association; Kent Corporation; MercyOne; Meredith Corporation; MidAmerican Energy Company; Pella Corporation; Principal; Ruan Transportation Management Systems; The Weitz Company; The University of Iowa Health Care; UnityPoint Health; Vermeer Corporation; Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa; and Wells Enterprises, Inc.


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