A monthly survey of supply managers in a nine-state Midwest region continued in November to project negative growth for Nebraska, according to survey results released Monday. In Iowa, the index declined for the fifth straight month but still indicates positive growth in the next three to six months.
Nebraska’s leading economic indicator increased to 47.3 from October’s 45.5.
“Improving economic conditions in Nebraska’s construction industry are pushing growth higher for firms with linkages to this industry,” said Ernie Goss, the Creighton University economist who publishes the Mid-America Business Conditions Index.
“However, pullbacks in growth for both durable and nondurable goods more than offset nonmanufacturing growth.”
He said surveys in Nebraska over the past several months point to slightly negative job and economic growth this coming spring
The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group conducts the survey. An index greater than 50 indicates an expanding economy over the next three to six months; a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.
Iowa’s indicator fell to 52.6 from 54.2 in October but remained on the side of positive growth for the 35th month in a row. Surveys there “continue to point to growth for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing in the state, but at a slower pace,” Goss said.
The overall index for the nine states climbed to 48 from 46.5 in October, including results from North and South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Minnesota.
The business confidence portion of the index plummeted to 43.5 from 58 in October. Last month, Goss predicted that settling the presidential election would bring some certainty, but Monday, he said several issues remain unresolved.
He pointed to the uncertainty surrounding both health care reform and the impending “fiscal cliff,” the combination of tax increases and federal budget cuts that are projected to send the nation into recession unless a political compromise is forged.
The survey also found weakness in trade, with the new export orders index falling to 47.9 from 60.8 and imports also contracting.
Overall indexes rose for Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota and South Dakota. North Dakota still led the region, but its index fell to 58.1 from 64.1, with housing and labor shortages reported as restraining growth there.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1336, email@example.com