Ernie Goss (file photo)

A monthly survey of business leaders in Iowa and eight other Midwest and Plains states suggests economic optimism remains strong across the region.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped from 62.3 in June to 56.1 in July.

“Anything above 50 is growth positive, so it was a good number,” Goss said. “It’s the eighth straight month it’s been above growth neutral, so that’s very solid.”

The July employment index dipped to 56.5 last month – down from 60.7 in June. “We’re probably adding jobs (at a rate of) 1.4 percent, but if you tack on productivity growth on top of that, that’s where we get the 2 to 3 percent overall GDP growth – so, that was a good reading,” Goss said. One concern for Iowa’s economy involves a recent decision by Japan.

“Japan just announced they’re going to tack on tariffs on U.S. beef going into Japan from 38.5 to 50 percent. That’s tough,” Goss said.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.