Midwest economic survey shows improvement in November
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A monthly survey of business supply managers shows improvement but still reflects relatively weak economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report issued Thursday.
The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report said the overall economic index for the region rose to 46.5 in November from 43.8 in October.
"Weakness among manufacturers linked to agriculture, energy and international markets continue to weigh on regional economic conditions," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. "Despite the decline in manufacturing, the nonmanufacturing sector of the regional economy is expanding, albeit at a slow pace," 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 in that factor. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The region's manufacturing sector continued to lose jobs, as the job index for November declined to 41.9 last month from October's 44.4.
"The growth gap between regional manufacturing and nonmanufacturing remains wide," Goss said, pointing to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data that say the region's manufacturing sector lost more than 16,000 jobs, a 1.2 percent decline, while regional nonmanufacturing added almost 102,000 jobs, an increase of a subpar 0.8 percent.
The supply managers surveyed indicated they expect their businesses to increase wages next year by 2.7 percent over 2016 levels.
"Manufacturing wage growth continues to expand, but at a tepid pace for producers in the region," Goss said.
Economic optimism for the next six months, as reflected by the November business confidence index, soared to 61.6 in November from 39.7 in October.