The Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index for May, a leading economic indicator for a nine-state region stretching from North Dakota to Arkansas, climbed for June. Indices over the past several months have pointed to positive, but slow economic growth over the next three to six months for the region.
The overall index rose to 53.0 in June from 50.4 in May.
“Much weaker business conditions for firms tied to energy are restraining the overall reading. Weaker conditions were particularly evident in Oklahoma and North Dakota, two energy-producing states. This weakness is spilling over into metal manufacturers throughout the region,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics in the Heider College of Business.
The regional employment gauge remains in a range indicating slightly negative to stagnant job growth for manufacturing and value-added services firms in the region. The job gauge advanced to a weak 49.1 from May’s 48.3.
For the 19th straight month, Nebraska’s Business Conditions Index remained above growth neutral at 51.3, up from May’s 51.1. Components of the index were new orders at 52.7, production or sales at 52.8, delivery lead time at 51.0, inventories at 52.6, and employment at 49.1. “The state’s durable goods producers, including agricultural equipment manufacturers, experienced pullbacks in economic activity for the month. This pullback was offset by more positive growth for nondurable manufacturers. However, food processors in the state detailed weaker business conditions for the month,” said Goss.