AP NEWS

Survey suggests slight rebound in Midwest economic growth

November 1, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An October survey of business supply managers suggests a bump occurred in economic growth for nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report released Friday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions index rebounded to 52.6, compared with 49.1 in September, the report said. The August figure was 49.3.

“For 2019, the Mid-America economy has been expanding at a pace well below that of the nation,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.

“The trade war and the global economic slowdown have cut regional growth to approximately one-half that of the U.S. October’s survey results indicate that regional growth is likely to bottom at positive, but slow rate, in (the) fourth quarter of this year,” he said.

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

The regional trade numbers remained weak last month, with both export orders and imports falling, if at a slower pace. The index for new export orders rose to 44.7 from September’s 36.2, while the import index rose to 48.2 from 42.4.

The wholesale inflation gauge for the month rose to 57.0, up from 55.3 in August.

Nearly 60% of supply managers reported that tariffs had increased the prices of supplies and inputs purchased by their companies, Goss said.

“However, tariffs have, to date, have had little impact on our wholesale inflation gauge,” said Goss.

Looking ahead six months, the October business confidence index slipped to 47.3 from September’s 47.7 reading.

“I expect business confidence to depend heavily on trade talks with China and the passage of the nation’s trade agreement with Canada and Mexico,” Goss said.