FILE - IA hiring, jobs, workers, unemployment

A now hiring sign flaps in the wind in front of an Iowa Staffing building May 6, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

(The Center Square) – Iowa business leaders indicated their expectations for the economy have “leveled off slightly,” according to the Iowa Business Council's third-quarter Economic Outlook Survey for 2021.

The organization surveyed its 22 member companies quarterly on their perspectives on sales, capital spending and employment for the upcoming six months in order to compile a consolidated economic outlook. Index scores must be greater than 50 to be positive.

In the third quarter, the overall economic outlook score from the survey decreased from 67.08 in the second quarter to 65.41. Sales expectations and capital spending expectations both fell 1.25 points to index scores of 70 and 66.25, respectively, while employment expectations dropped 2.5 points to 66.25.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they anticipate their workforce will grow at least 5%, and 40% predicted their workforce would experience 1% to 4% growth. Another 40% said they expected their workforce would not change and 5% said their workforce would decrease, between 1% to 4%.

There are more than 12,600 open positions across the companies, the members reported.

All members said that hiring is “somewhat difficult to very difficult,” and 90% said the supply chain “has been negatively impacted by the lingering effects of the pandemic,” the release said.

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

The outlook score is the fifth straight positive quarter.

Members can complete the council’s survey quarterly. Previous survey results are viewable at www.iowabusinesscouncil.org/news/eos.