November economy index falls, but confidence ticks up

December 1, 2021 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Business leaders in nine Midwest and Plains states indicate the region’s economy remains healthy and have seen their confidence in the economy over the next six months improve, according to a new monthly survey released Wednesday.

But about half of supply managers surveyed expect supply chain disruptions to get worse for the first six months of 2022, according to the latest Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions report.

The overall index for November of the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions fell to 60.2 from October’s 65.2. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession.

Firms reported that transportation issues such as trucking, air and rail delays were the greatest factors accounting for supply chain disruptions. Supply managers named labor shortages as the second most important factor in supply disruptions, said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the monthly survey.

Comments from supply managers indicated that some businesses are reacting to supply chain issues by over-buying, similar to last year’s consumer toilet paper shortage. One respondent remarked that some supply managers have changed their mode of operations from “just-in-time” to “have a hunch, buy a bunch,” Goss said.

The survey’s business confidence index, which looks ahead six months, climbed to a still-weak 46.2 from October’s 37.0.

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