DES MOINES, Iowa — Results from an Iowa Business Council survey show that most of the state’s largest companies have a positive outlook on the state’s economy recovering this year.
This Economic Outlook survey was sent out to Iowa Business Council members at the end of last year with a focus on sales, capital spending, and employment.
The Iowa Business Council said this is the highest rating they’ve had from an economic survey since 2019.
The Executive Director of the Council, Joe Murphy, said this is mainly due to companies learning how to pivot and vaccine distribution.
“The fact that we’re learning how to work within this pandemic knowing that vaccines are literally getting injected into the arms of Iowans right now and across the country, that gives us a great sense of optimism,” Murphy said. “But most importantly, it allows business leaders and executives to begin to plan for the future.”
Iowa Business Council has 22 members, including Casey’s, John Deere, Fareway and Alliant Energy.
More than 55 percent of members expect sales to be higher in the next six months, 50 percent expect employment to increase and 50 percent expect capital spending to be higher.
Iowa Bankers Association, another member of the Iowa Business Council, said the state’s locally-owned banks have felt the impact of this health crisis as the small businesses they support have seen as much as a 25 percent decline in gross receipts.
During this pandemic, the Iowa Bankers Association has been making accommodations for these small businesses and has been granting forbearance to homeowners and working to ensure local nonprofits have the financial resources to deliver services in the community.
The CEO of the Iowa Bankers Association, John Sorensen, said what keeps the association hopeful for 2021, is agriculture. According to Sorensen, last year net farm income and commodity prices significantly increased for Iowa farmers.
“If our farm economy is doing well, our farmers are doing well. That means additional farm equipment sales, then that means suppliers of the farm community do well right along with that,” Sorensen said. “Iowa is a state of many small community banks and so many of our rural banks are directly tied, they’re farm banks.”
Two issues the Iowa Business Council hopes the state works on during this year’s legislative session are child care and better broadband connection.