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Business Council survey shows guarded hopes for recovery


Members of the Iowa Business Council (IBC) main positive about the outlook for business conditions in the state for the next six months, according to the second-quarter Overall Economic Outlook Survey Index. 

The overall index, which dipped to an anemic 35.5 in the first quarter of 2009, has since climbed to a healthy 65.3. Numbers above 50 represent positive sentiment; numbers below 50 represent negative sentiment. The Business Council has conducted the survey, which queries its executive members on their outlook for sales, capital spending and employment, since 2007.

“I think the index has been a reflection of the national economy,” said Elliott Smith, the IBC’s executive director. “It’s been a long, slow pull up.”

The survey uses a diffusion index, devised with assistance from the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, in which each response falls within a 100-point scale. Using weighted averages, an overall index number is calculated to summarize the executives’ projections for business activity for the next six months.

Collectively, the Iowa Business Council’s 25 member organizations employ nearly 250,000 Iowans. The three regents university presidents and the president of the Iowa Bankers Association, who are also IBC board members, do not participate in the business survey.

Greater Des Moines IBC executives:
• Kim Austen, Allied Insurance
• John Forsyth, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
• Ric Jurgens, Hy-Vee Inc.
• Bill Leaver, Iowa Health System
• Mark Oman, Wells Fargo & Co.
• Max Phillips, Qwest Communications International Inc.
• John Ruan III, Ruan Transportation Management Systems
• Paul Schickler, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.
• Larry Zimpleman, Principal Financial Group Inc.

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