The nine state Mid-America Business Conditions Index declined in May but remained in a healthy range. Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss the overall index remained above the growth neutral mark of 50 for a sixth straight month.
Goss says, “The overall index falls to a still healthy level. Again, I’ll call it a Goldilocks economy, not too hot, not too cool. The index declines to 55.5 from 61/4 in April. That is a little bit low but a solid number.”
Goss says the May report also shows a very healthy employment gauge but almost half of the businesses surveyed indicated finding and hiring qualified workers is a challenge as their businesses continue to grow. Goss says, “That would be skilled workers. We are still talking about that is still an issue. That would be electricians. That would be plumbers. That would be welders and so on. The list is long.” The index remained above growth neutral but slipped to 62.3 from 62.9 in April.
When it comes to confidence, Goss says the businesses surveyed are optimistic due to strong profit growth and low interest rates boosted their outlook.
The index for Nebraska fell to a solid 55.2 in May from 61.0 in April. Goss says while metal manufacturers and machinery producers experienced slow to negative growth for the month, nondurable goods manufacturers, including food processors, detailed solid upturns in economic activity.