Survey suggests more economic growth ahead for Midwest

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A monthly survey of business leaders suggests economic conditions continue to improve for nine Midwest and Plains states.

A report released Wednesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 58.8 in October from 58.2 in September. The August figure was 57.5.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says national and regional indices indicate the manufacturing sector is expanding at a very healthy pace.        

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline. 

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Survey Results:

Here are the state-by-state results for October:

Arkansas: The October overall index plummeted to a still-solid 55.4 from September’s 67.3. Components of the index were new orders at 57.4, production or sales at 63.4, delivery lead time at 52.7, inventories at 52.1 and employment at 51.1. “Over the past 12 months, Arkansas increased manufacturing employment by 3 percent, or approximately 4,700 manufacturing jobs,” Goss said. “Slight job losses for durable-goods producers were more than offset by gains for nondurable-goods manufacturers.”

Iowa: The state’s overall index sank to 55.0 last month from 60.7 in September. Index components were new orders at 58.4, production or sales at 62.3, delivery lead time at 55.4, employment at 47.8 and inventories at 51.0. In the past year, Iowa increased manufacturing employment by 1.3 percent _ about 2,800 jobs. “Nondurable-goods producers, including food manufacturers, expanded, while durable-goods manufacturers, including metal producers, contracted slightly,” said Goss. 

Kansas: Kansas’s overall index soared to 63.4 last month from September’s regional low of 43.6. Components of the index were new orders at 68.3, production or sales at 73.8, delivery lead time at 61.6, employment at 54.2 and inventories at 59.2. Nondurable-goods producers expanded at a solid pace, Goss said, while durable-goods companies experienced slight losses.
        Minnesota: The October index for Minnesota declined to 56.3 last month from September’s 59.4. Components of the overall index were new orders at 59.9, production or sales at 64.0, delivery lead time at 53.3, inventories at 52.7 and employment at 51.7. Gains were strong for food processors and medical equipment manufacturers, Goss said.

Missouri: Missouri’s overall index plunged to 53.8 in October from 63.9 in September. Components of the overall index were new orders at 56.2, production or sales at 62.3, delivery lead time at 51.4, inventories at 51.1 and employment at 47.9. “Over the past 12 months, Missouri increased manufacturing employment by 1.5 percent, or approximately 4,000 manufacturing jobs,” Goss said.

Nebraska: The state’s overall index inched up to 60.1 last month from 59.3 in September. Components of the index were new orders at 61.5, production or sales at 67.5, delivery lead time at 56.9, inventories at 59.9 and employment at 54.6. “Over the past 12 months, Nebraska increased manufacturing employment by 1.1 percent, or approximately 1,100 manufacturing jobs,” Goss said.

North Dakota: North Dakota’s overall index fell to 55.9 last month, compared with 63.9 in September. Components of the overall index were new orders at 58.1, production or sales at 64.1, delivery lead time at 53.4, employment at 51.4 and inventories at 52.7. “After declining for much of 2016, North Dakota’s mining and energy sector began to expand in the first quarter of this year,” Goss said. “Surveys over the past several months indicate this expansion continues at a brisk pace.”

Oklahoma: The state’s overall index climbed to a robust 63.0 in October from 62.7 in September. Components of the overall index were new orders at 65.2, production or sales at 70.8, delivery lead time at 60.9, inventories at 59.2 and employment at 58.9. “Expansions among energy firms, and manufacturing companies linked to energy, are driving the state’s economy forward at a current brisk pace,” he said.
        South Dakota: South Dakota’s overall index soared to 57.6 from September’s weak 46.6. Components of the overall index were new orders at 60.3, production or sales at 66.1, delivery lead time at 55.7, inventories at 54.7 and employment at 51.3. “While the state’s manufacturing sector is expanding at a tepid pace, energy-related firms are advancing at a solid pace,” Goss said.