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Increased Sales Could Mean More Jobs for Iowans

A prediction of increased sales in the first half of 2016 could translate to more jobs for Iowans. Credit: FidlerJan/
A prediction of increased sales in the first half of 2016 could translate to more jobs for Iowans. Credit: FidlerJan/
December 7, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - Despite a downturn in Iowa's agriculture sector, a new report suggests the state's economy will be healthier in the next six months.

The Iowa Business Council's new Economic Outlook Survey summarizes fourth-quarter activity in the state's largest businesses. Council Executive Director Elliott Smith says it focuses on sales, jobs and business spending.

"Sales is a leading indicator in this survey," says Smith. "And if sales remain strong for two or three quarters, we tend to see the other two metrics follow."

He says 90 percent of business leaders surveyed expect steady or increased sales in the first half of 2016.

The survey shows a rebound from this summer, and Smith says that suggests a positive trend for those looking for career advancement.

"I think you're seeing a healthy optimism in most business segments for a good start to 2016, and that strong sales, which ultimately impacts capital spending, hopefully that employment number will follow," he says.

Eight percent of those surveyed expect hiring levels to remain steady or grow between now and next summer.

While Iowa is heavily dependent on agriculture, Smith says taking a more diversified economic approach has helped the state absorb setbacks in that key sector. But he cautions that trend may not last.

"For the most part, our economy has been able to counteract any softness in the ag segment with more robust activity in pure manufacturing," Smith says. "But you're seeing a little bit of that impact now in ag trickle down into the general economy."

He adds with the brighter overall sales forecast, business owners may feel more confident investing in their businesses, both in terms of employees and expanding their facilities.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - IA