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Survey suggests Midwest economic growth will continue

Posted at 2:43 PM, Jul 01, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economy in nine Midwestern and Plains states was hampered in part by tariffs and flooding last month, but it should continue to grow over the next three to six months, according to a report released Monday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 55.4 in June, from 54.3 in May, the report said. The April figure was 55.9.

“Weak farm income, produced partially by tariffs and flooding, pulled regional growth below that of the nation,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. “Even so, based on our manufacturing survey over the past several months, I expect overall growth to remain solidly positive.”

The results from the survey of supply managers were 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 for June were down for both exports and imports. The index for new export orders dipped to 48.3, just two-tenths of a point under May’s 48.5, and the import index slumped to 50.0 from May and April’s 57.0.

“Creighton’s survey is beginning to measure growing impacts from tariffs,” Goss said. “June’s import reading is the lowest recorded this year, and June’s export orders index matches January’s low index.”

According to the June survey, however, 71.1 percent of the supply managers who responded supported continuing the tariffs on China or even raising them.

The Business Conditions Index — a measure of economic optimism for the next six months — advanced to 59.1 from May’s 54.5.

“I expect business confidence to depend heavily on trade talks with China and Federal Reserve’s interest rate actions in the weeks and months ahead,” Goss said.