The region’s economic recovery is picking up steam, according to a Creighton University survey of business leaders in Iowa and eight other Midwestern and Plains states. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says it’s the fourth time in the past six months the survey showed a rise in Iowa’s business conditions index, one of the state’s chief economic indicators.
“I do think the recovery that’s underway right now is going to be modest, even with these pretty good numbers,” Goss says. “I was very encouraged by the numbers. It’s some of the best numbers we’ve gotten in a long time. This economic downturn, which began in December of ’07 at least for the nation, now looks like it’s coming to an end.” Goss says the regional employment index also rose for January, indicating jobs are being added.
Goss says the nine states individually aren’t registering major increases in employment but the companies Creighton is surveying -are- adding jobs. Despite the upturn in overall business conditions, both durable and nondurable goods manufacturers in Iowa experienced employment losses for the month. Goss says the numbers show that layoffs could decrease in the coming months, both in Iowa and across the region.
“This month we asked the supply managers about layoffs and we compared that number to November when we asked the same question,” Goss says. “A lot less layoffs (are) expected for 2010, that’s come down so that’s looking better. We asked about pay raises and we’re even seeing that turning upward.”
Goss says the global economy continues to push higher and new export orders are up several points but supply managers surveyed continue to reduce inventory. The states included in the survey are: Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
By Karla James