Survey Suggests Improving Business Conditions In Midwest

Wed 1-2-2019

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Business conditions improved last month in nine Midwest and Plains states despite shortages of skilled workers, according to a monthly survey report issued Wednesday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 55.2 in December from 54.1 in November. The October reading was 54.9. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.

The December employment index sank to 50.0 from 57.5 in November.

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

Looking ahead six months, the December index for economic optimism fell to a still solid 54.1 from November's 55.5. More than 43 percent of supply managers who responded to the survey expected profits for their companies to improve in 2019.

The regional trade numbers turned sharply lower last month. The index for new export orders slumped to 48.1 from November's 51.8, and the import index plummeted to 41.1 from 54.3 in November.

(From The Associated Press).