Midwest economy strong in May, shows labor and supply challenges

Ernie Goss

OMAHA, Nebraska -- May was another strong growth month for the Midwest economy.

The nine-state Mid-America Business Conditions Index was at 72.3 for May, down slightly from a record high 73.9 in April.

The Index is measured on a 0-100 scale, with 50 considered growth-neutral.

"We're still not back to pre-COVID levels but, boy, we're moving in that direction" says Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss.

He says while May's Index is down slightly from April, there's still a lot of confidence from business managers.

"I expect the regional economy to be back to pre-COVID levels, back to pre-pandemic levels, in the first quarter of 2022," Goss says.

As for challenges facing the economy, Goss says almost 30 percent of supply managers identified soaring input prices as the greatest 2021 economic challenge for their firm, while almost 23 percent of manufacturers said finding and hiring qualified workers was the greatest 2021 challenge.

Goss says manufacturers surveyed for the Index also say supply bottlenecks pushed deliveries to their slowest pace on record.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index is a monthly survey of business managers in Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Images from Creighton University

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