Strong growth continues in nine Midwest, Plains states

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The economy continues growing at a strong pace in nine Midwest and Plains states despite supply delays that are hindering manufacturing, according to a new monthly survey of business leaders and managers.

The overall economic index for the region remained at a very strong level when it crept up to 73.5 in June from May’s 72.3. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy.

“The region is adding manufacturing business activity at a very healthy pace, and that growth will remain strong with the overall regional economy returning to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2022,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.

Nearly all the business leaders surveyed reported problems with supply bottlenecks in June, and inflation continues to be a concern. The report’s inflation gauge climbed to 98.4 and set another record in June, up from May’s already high 96.3.

Businesses continued hiring in June and the employment index grew to 61.7 from May’s 55.6 even though many managers said they were having a hard time finding workers to hire. Goss said the shortage of workers pushed wages for manufacturing jobs up 4.9% over the past year in the region.

Business leaders are less confident about the economy but they still have a positive outlook. The survey’s confidence index fell to 60.8 in June from May’s 88.6 but remained in positive territory.

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