Iowa: Business optimism means more jobs

The Scratch Cupcakery on Main Street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 58% of local businesses in Iowa are "very optimistic" about business prospects in 2017.  

The Scratch Cupcakery on Main Street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 58% of local businesses in Iowa are "very optimistic" about business prospects in 2017.  

Highlights:

  • Confidence supercharges the economy
  • Iowa small businesses are extremely optimistic
  • Their optimism means big plans for hiring employees in 2017

It’s no secret that consumer confidence has a big impact on the economy. When people feel good, they spend more money and the economy as a whole does much better.

The same is true for business owners. According to our recent survey of 2,823 small business owners across the country, optimistic local business owners are 3.5x more likely to hire new employees and give raises, and pessimistic ones are 6.5x more likely to cut staff and employee pay. It’s simple math: increased small business optimism means more jobs and higher wages.

Iowa is a great example of this idea at work. Local business owners in the Hawkeye State are feeling very good about business prospects in 2017. In fact, 80% of the state’s small business merchants are optimistic, and an incredible 58% say they’re “very optimistic.” That’s much, much higher than the national average of 35%.

All those good feelings are translating into very strong hiring aspirations. More than 1 in 4 local businesses plan to add staff this year, ranking Iowa #13 nationally for small business hiring intent. If those intentions came to fruition, Iowa would add more than 71,000 new jobs in 2017 alone simply because small business owners are optimistic and willing to invest in people to help grow their companies. Without factoring in attrition, that would be an 11% bump in the state’s small business employee headcount in a single year. That would be huge!

Perhaps that’s why Iowa business owners report their top worry to be hiring and retaining employees. That’s a good problem to have, and all of these dynamics will work together to supercharge the state’s economy as long as confidence stays high.

On that note, two items to watch are national debates about tax reform and Obamacare repeal. Iowa businesses rank tax concerns and health insurance as their #4 and #6 worries, respectively, so their optimism may be affected by how those policy debates play out on the national scale.

Read our full report below.

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