The August Mid-America Business Conditions Index increased slightly in August to 47.8 from July’s 47.6. Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says this that slight increase still does not put the nine state region in the growth neutral range.
Goss says, “The overall growth index was below growth neutral for the second straight month. That is after five consecutive months above growth neutral. Agriculture is weakening. Energy is not strengthening and oil prices are moving down again to $40 a barrel. The overall index did increase from July’s 47.6 to 47.8 but that is not all that good. It is below growth neutral but it is still not a recession.”
Goss says the employment gauge indicates the regional manufacturing sector continues to lose jobs, sinking to 44.0 in August from 46.9 in July. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the region’s manufacturing sector lost more than 22,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
In Nebraska, the August Index fell to 47.0, down from 51.5 in June. Goss says farm equipment manufacturers continue to shed jobs and economic activity. Food processors in the state are expanding jobs and sales.