Creighton University economist Ernie Goss credits a “surging” manufacturing sector for positive feedback from a monthly survey of business leaders in a nine state region that includes Iowa.
Goss oversees the survey results, which are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. The overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose slightly in October to 58.8 — up from 58.2 in September.
“It’s the 11th straight month above growth neutral,” Goss noted. Any score above 50 suggests growth. The October employment index also remained above the growth neutral mark.
“Not as strong there, but the number is up from 52.0 (in September). I won’t call it healthy, but I’ll call it solid. The October number is 52.9, so that’s good,” Goss said.
According to Goss, the region’s manufacturing sector is expanding at a “very healthy pace.” In Iowa, over the past 12 months, manufacturing employment has increased by 1.3 percent or approximately 2,800 jobs. Despite the rosy outlook of the new report, Goss noted there are hurdles to more robust economic growth. He pointed to the housing market as an example.
Housing prices are just growing at an unsustainable pace – a pace that is too strong for wage growth,” Goss said. The monthly survey from Creighton University covers Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.