Iowa Manufacturers Focus on Business Strategies Amidst Seasonal Challenges and Economic Dynamics

December 14, 2023

As Iowa businesses gear up for the challenges and opportunities of the upcoming year, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) reveals insightful data from its latest Quarterly Business Survey, sent to its board of directors in late November.

Key highlights include:

  • Capital Expenditures: 64% of respondents plan to make capital expenditures in the first quarter of 2024. This underscores the commitment of Iowa businesses to continue to invest in their operations as they proactively look for efficiencies to remain competitive in the marketplace.
  • Sales Expectations: Many respondents are prioritizing cost reduction and sales growth strategies to navigate economic uncertainties. 52% of respondents anticipate stable sales in Q1 2024, reflecting a balanced outlook and resilience in Iowa businesses amid those uncertainties.
  • Employment and Workforce Trends: Workforce management remains a focal point for Iowa businesses as the new year approaches. Most respondents, at 58%, anticipate that the number of employees in their businesses will remain consistent in the first quarter of 2024. The need to address ongoing challenges with childcare remain top of mind.

While most respondents expressed positive intentions for capital expenditures, sales, and workforce retention, there are nuanced perspectives on specific issues that businesses are planning to address in the next quarter, such as:

  • Intermittent, yet persistent supply chain issues
  • Rising vendor and material costs
  • Energy reduction
  • Sustainable packaging

 "The current business environment will remain complex as we enter 2024,” said Mike Ralston, ABI President. “It's encouraging to see resilience and adaptability as businesses navigate challenges, and we remain committed to supporting them in their strategic endeavors."

 For previous survey results, resources for manufacturers and events on automation, including an upcoming automation summit, visit

Approximately half of ABI’s member companies are manufacturers. ABI represents nearly every industry in the state of Iowa.