Economist Says More Midwest Industries In Recovery

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economic recovery appears to be gaining strength in nine Midwest and Plains states, with construction being the only industry still lagging, according to a new monthly report released Thursday.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said economic growth is finally reaching beyond agriculture and energy sectors in the region. But rising energy prices and inflation could hurt future growth.

The overall Mid-America index rose last month to 58.4, from 55.9 in January. Any score above 50 suggests growth.

“Any significant increase in energy prices could reduce the growth outlook for the region,” Goss said. “However, at this time, energy prices are not having any significant negative impacts on current and anticipated growth for the region.”

And Goss said inflation is already a concern. The prices-paid index, which tracks raw material costs, soared to 74.7 in February, from January’s 67.8.

The survey of business leaders and supply managers covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The report uses a collection of indexes that range from zero to 100 to assess the economy. Any score above 50 suggests that index will grow in the next few months while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor.

The employment index grew to 57.5 in February, from January’s already healthy reading of 54.5.

Business leaders remain fairly confident about the economy over the next six months. The confidence index declined to a still-strong level of 61 in February, from January’s 67.2.

The February inventory index declined to 54.2, from January’s 55.3.

The export index declined to 55.3 in February, from January’s 60.4. And the import index slipped to 56.6, from January’s 56.7.

“Exports continue to be an important source of growth for the region. Additionally, an expanding regional economy has pushed firms to increase their purchases from abroad,” Goss said.

The other components of the February index were:
— New orders at 58.4, up from 58.1 in January.
— Production or sales at 60.9 February, up from 56.9.
— And deliveries at 56.4, up from January’s 54.7.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • sid

    wont last long with high gas prices coming.

  • Kilgore

    Thank you President Obama for showing us the path to recovery after the 8 disastrous years of President Bush. If putting the expense of two wars, including one started under false pretenses, for future generations to pay wasn’t enough, Bush left you with the worst economic meltdown since the depression. Now that we are on the road to recovery, the Republicans are telling us they can do a better job cleaning up their previous mess. I have hope the American people won’t get fooled again…

    • sid

      there is absolutely no chance in ell that Obama will be reelected. Historians will label him one of the worst presidents in the history of this country. Highest debt under his watch, highest unemployment under his watch, highest gas prices under his watch, highest number of government dependant people under his watch, on and on and on.

      • Orrest

        Does every right winger on this board lie? Try unemployment rates in 1929-1930. There may be more unemployed people because there are more people. Debt as a portion of GDP is not the worst. Of course for people like you you have to keep statistics simple.

    • PoliticiansSUX

      Oddly enough, the midwest was recently taken over by Republicans, how does that fit with your theiory Kilkore that it is the Democrat Presidents doing? Years and years of union payoffs put the midwest in a bind and now that Republicans are taking over we are getting worse service and things are falling apart, but josb are coming as is the economy. The President works are the natioanl level and things across the country are worse than in the midweast. The Republicans are writing bills and budgets for the first time in decades in the midwest adn things are better here than the rest of the country. Yes thank you President Obama now that peopel can see the failed policies of buying Union votes and of course the failed policies of giving control over to one group for too long. Soon our roads will be impassable, but at least we all will have jobs and the economy will be chugging along.

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