The Mid-America Business Conditions Index for September declined to 47.7 from August’s 49.6, indicating contraction in manufacturing and pointing to slow to no economic growth over the next three to six months for the nine state regional economies.
Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says, “The strong U-S dollar and global economic weakness are having a negative impact on manufacturers and businesses linked to manufacturing in the region. Additionally, weak crop prices and energy prices have negatively affected the regional economy.”
The regional employment gauge slumped for September to 42.6 from August’s 52.0 and that indicates job losses for manufacturing and value added services. That is impacting industries dependent on agriculture and energy and both areas are experiencing cuts.
The report also shows that the wholesale inflation index for September fell to its lowest level since May of 2009. Goss says agriculture and energy commodity price declines are “shrinking inflationary pressures”. September’s business confidence index also slumped to 43.4 compared to 47.7 in August.
Nebraska’s index fell below the 50.0 mark for the third straight month to 45.4 in September. He says both durable and nondurable goods producers are experiencing downturns in economic activity. Those tied to agriculture are especially weak.