Midwest economic survey points toward slow growth

Farm Forum

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Figures from a survey of supply managers in nine Midwest and Plains states have dropped slightly but still suggest economic growth ahead, according to a report issued July 1.

The Mid-American Business Conditions index hit 50.1 in June, compared with 52.1 in May, the report said. The index generally has been on the rise since dropping to a 12-month low of 39.6 in December.

“The region’s manufacturing sector is expanding, but at a slow pace as gains for nondurable-goods producers more than offset continuing losses for regional durable-goods manufacturers,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.

Most survey participants completed the survey before voters in Great Britain opted to leave the European Union. In 2015 the Midwest and Plains region exported almost $2 billion in goods to Great Britain and imported about $1.9 billion.

A subsequent British recession or weak British currency would not have a significant impact on the nine states’ economy, but the region would benefit from the strengthening of the dollar against a broad range of currencies, Goss said.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The regional employment gauge fell last month to 46.1 from May’s tepid 51.4.

“While the region’s manufacturing sector has lost jobs over the last several months, the overall regional economy continues to add jobs but at a pace of roughly half that of this time last year,” Goss said.