Iowa’s economy saw a healthy bump during December after four straight months of declines, according to Creighton University’s latest survey of supply managers and business leaders statewide. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says he’s encouraged by the progress seen in the monthly survey for Iowa, but he’s remaining cautious.
"It was a pretty positive report although I have to say, we’ll have to see more positive reports until I’m convinced that we’ve really turned the corner in terms of the economy," Goss says. He says the holiday buying season shares part of the credit for Iowa’s modest boost in December.
Goss says: "A lot of it can be attributed to the cheap dollar. That’s made U.S. goods cheaper abroad, particularly in Europe, Great Britain and Canada. It’s increased new export orders. It’s also restrained growth in imports." While many Iowa farmers are starting 2008 in very good financial shape, Goss says some areas of the ag economy are struggling.
"We are going to see some problems with the livestock producers with very high corn prices, very high soybean prices," Goss explains, "that’s cutting into some of the profitability of livestock producers, but overall we’re seeing record farm income, ethanol production, of course, up, and that’s helping the non-metropolitan areas of the state of Iowa."
The number of unemployed Iowans is about 5,000 higher than this time last year. Goss says, "I expect the jobless rate to rise slightly in the first quarter of 2008 before it stabilizes and declines by midyear."