For the first time this year, Iowa’s economic report card showed the state’s overall grade fell during June, but it still remains passing. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says his monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders in Iowa and eight other states revealed something of a trend, as the region’s numbers have dropped for three straight months.
“The leading economic indicator from the June survey was down but interestingly, it remains well above the national number,” Goss says. “The national number has now dropped to its lowest level since coming out of the recession in 2009.”
In the past year, Iowa’s durable goods producers and nondurable goods manufacturers have boosted employment levels by more than three-percent, which was the best in the Midwest. Overall, Goss says employment growth is beginning to slow down.
“I expect it to slow even more in the months ahead but it’s still going to be positive,” Goss says. “Unemployment rates are still going to be well below the national number and that’s very good news for this part of the country. We’re seeing some real concerns coming out of supply managers at least for this month.”
In Iowa, however, he says the surveys over the past several months signal the job growth will continue in the state for the next three to six months. The June survey does point to some concerns, Goss says, especially for farm states like Iowa.
“There’s some real issues in terms of agricultural commodity prices coming down,” Goss says. “A lot of that we can trace to a stronger dollar but also, we have record yields out there, a record crop coming to the market. That’s going to push prices down and that’s going to have some negative impact on some of the businesses we survey. Even with that though, the agricultural sector is still quite strong.”
Looking ahead six months, Goss says the category of economic optimism plummeted. He points to the rapid upturn in interest rates.