For a third straight month, the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index was below growth neutral 50.0.
Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says the index for September fell to 45.5 from August’s 47.8.
Goss says the employment index for the nine state region that includes Nebraska remained below growth neutral for a fourth straight month. He says, “For 12 months, the region has lost 20-thousand manufacturing jobs. The manufacturing sector continues to shed jobs as you hear the economy is doing well. It is not doing well – especially in the manufacturing sector. That is a loss of 1.4% in manufacturing jobs in the region.”
Goss goes on to say that weakness among manufacturing linked to agriculture and energy continues to weigh on regional economic conditions. Due to the dependence of the region on these two sectors he expects to see the regional economy to continue to underperform the national economy.
The trade sector showed the largest drop as the new export orders index plunged to 33.8, down from 50.1 in August. The import index fell to 43.4 in September, down from 45.8 in August.
The September Index for Nebraska fell to 44.6 from 47.3 in August. Components of the index from the monthly survey of supply mangers for September were new orders at 40.9, production of sales at 44.7 and employment at 46.4. Goss notes that despite weakness among machinery manufacturers in the state, metal manufacturers are experiencing improving economic conditions. Those linked to international markets continue to experience pullbacks in economic activity.