Economic Indicators Continue To Improve

posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 in Blog


DES MOINES, IOWA – June 1, 2012. Expected levels of sales, capital spending, and employment for Iowa's largest employers have all improved as business leaders express a positive economic outlook for

the coming six months. The 2012Q2 Iowa Business Council (IBC) Overall Economic Outlook Survey Index (OSI) rose to 68.3 – two points higher than three months ago (66.3) and three points ahead of this time last year (65.3). This represents a historic high for the Outlook Survey Index, surpassing the previous OSI standard of 66.7 set in 2011Q1. The 2012Q2 survey was completed by 20 of the corporate members of the Iowa Business Council during the second half of May, the results of which were released today.


The 2012Q2 Sales OSI is 73, two points higher than last quarter (71) and four points better than one year ago (69). One hundred percent of the CEOs expect steady or increased sales over the next six months – substantially higher (20%), higher (50%), or no change (30%). Zero percent of survey respondents expect sales levels to decrease – lower (0%) or substantially lower (0%).


The 2012Q2 Capital Spending OSI is 69, which is two points above last quarter (67) and five points higher than the 2011Q2 survey (64). Ninety-five percent of IBC corporate members expect steady or increased capital spending levels through November 2012 – substantially higher (25%), higher (30%), or no change (40%). Five percent of survey respondents expect capital spending, i.e., investments in facilities and equipment, to decrease – lower (5%) or substantially lower (0%).


The 2012Q2 Employment OSI is 63, two points ahead of three months ago (61) and the same as this time last year (63). This result matches the Outlook Survey Index high for Employment of 63 first set in 2008Q1 and equaled again in 2011Q2. Ninety percent expect hiring levels for the next six months to remain steady or grow – substantially higher (10%), higher (40%), or no change (40%). Ten percent expect employment needs to decrease – lower (10%) or substantially lower (0%).


“Iowa business leaders are clearly experiencing an improving economy and have a positive outlook. This bodes well for Iowa companies and their respective supply chains and employees,” said Stan Askren, the Chairman, President, and CEO of HNI Corporation in Muscatine, and 2012 Chair of the Iowa Business Council.

The Economic Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly by the Iowa Business Council to informIowabusinesses and Iowans about projected trends in the state's economy, which may prove useful for business and economic planning purposes.


The Iowa Business Council (IBC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose 24 members are the top executives of 20 of the largest businesses in the state, the three Regent university presidents, and Iowa's largest banking association. Founded in 1985, the Council's purpose is to focus the personal commitment of its members in active leadership roles on major initiatives that offer opportunity to enhance Iowa's economic vitality and improve the lives of Iowans. Council members identify economic issues, evaluate options, and assist in implementing solutions through collaborative public/private partnerships. Collectively, these companies and institutions employ over a quarter million Iowans and have committed billions of dollars in capital investment to the state. On an annual basis, several hundred million dollars in financial contributions and thousands of volunteer hours are directed to numerous charitable causes around Iowa. IBC members also lead in technology innovation with billions of dollars spent and grants procured for research and development. The Business Council focuses its efforts primarily in areas related to advanced technology, continuous process improvement, economic and workforce development, education excellence, health care and wellness, and operations continuity and security. Its representation reaches across the state – from borders north and south to rivers east and west. For more information, please visit the IBC Web site at