Iowa employers are feeling less optimistic than they were six months ago, according to a survey released Tuesday


Hamilton Group Inc.’s Hamilton Hiring Survey, conducted in November, found that 50 percent of respondents were either somewhat or very optimistic about their industry’s job growth in the first half of 2014. That was down 18 percentage points from the third quarter of 2013.

A total of 41 respondents said they expect to increase total employment over the next six months. That’s down from 46 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

The overall Hamilton Hiring Index for the first half of 2014 is at 67, a seven-point decrease from the mid-2013 index result of 74, but a 16-point increase from a year ago. A reading of 50 is considered neutral.

Hamilton Group surveys more than 5,000 small and medium-sized employers for the survey to gauge optimism for industry growth in the coming six months.