Iowa employers mostly undecided about hiring in 2014

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Hiring in Iowa is expected to stall in 2014, according to a survey.

In November 2013 the Hamilton Hiring Survey examined over 5,000 small and medium-sized Iowa businesses and gauged employers’ hiring intentions for the first half of 2014. The survey found that employers are feeling less optimistic than they were in mid-2013.

“Businesses’ optimism for hiring in the first half of 2014 is stalling,” said Hamilton Group President Tom Hamilton. “Hiring and expanding a business is all about confidence, and employers’ confidence is being stymied by a number of national factors.”

Nearly 30-percent of respondents indicated that they were neither optimistic nor pessimistic about business prospects. Over 40-percent of surveyed business owners said there would be no change in their workforces and they were undecided about future hiring.

Uncertainties generally stem from healthcare costs, business regulations, taxes, and the federal debt.

“Until we can have a degree of confidence that our federal government wants to create an environment where a small business can rely on pro-business policies that don’t over tax, over legislate, and over regulate us, it is hard to make long term plans,” said President of Mfg. Co. in Waverly, Iowa, Gary Nelson. “Uncertainty kills making business decisions and it has never been tougher in my 30-plus years to run a business.”

The study revealed that the use of contract labor will remain steady.

“Many organizations feel the use of contract employees gives them flexibility during uncertain times,” Hamilton said.

Yielding the same results as the summer of 2013, the survey found that 8-percent of companies plan to reduce their workforce.
In October 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.3-percent; Iowa’s was 4.6, according to Iowa Workforce Development. One year prior, Iowa’s unemployment rate was 5.1-percent.