A new survey of business leaders and supply managers across Iowa and eight other Midwestern states finds a sixth straight month of improving conditions. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the May financial report points to a solid, growing economy in the months ahead.
“That leading economic indicator went to its highest level in more than four years,” Goss says. “The job picture is looking much better, although we’ve got a lot of territory to cover if we want to get back all of those jobs that the nine states have lost.”
In particular, he says Iowa’s economy has begun adding jobs. Since the beginning of the recession, Iowa has lost more than 51,000 jobs and he says the state won’t likely see those numbers fully restored until September of 2012.
“There have been a heck of a lot of job losses,” Goss says. “It’s going to take a couple years to get back all of those jobs that were lost but we’re still certainly well on our way. The May survey was very good.” Goss says the financial turmoil in Europe is a threat to the American Midwest’s economic expansion. It’s raised the value of the dollar, which he says is making U.S.-made goods and farm products less competitive abroad.
“We survey those manufacturers, those businesses that serve the agricultural sector and there, I’ve got some concerns,” Goss says, “but not enough of a concern to push me to be more pessimistic about the economy. The economy’s looking good right now. The tail winds are much better than the head winds.”
Goss says business leaders across Iowa and the eight other states were asked how the European economic problems are affecting their firms. Almost 21% of respondents reported negative impacts for their firm from Europe’s turmoil. The remaining 79% indicated little or no impact to date.