Midwest Economy Shows Growth in January

Photo: Dorwart, Mike (uploader)

OMAHA, Nebraska -- A monthly survey of Midwest business leaders shows more growth in January.

"The overall reading is up slightly--to 50.9, up from December's 50.3. I won't say that's great news, but it's better news that I was expecting," says Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss.

The monthly nine-state Mid-America Business Conditions Index ranges from 0 to 100, with a reading of 50 as growth-neutral.

Goss says some supply managers surveyed in the new Index are still pessimistic about regional economy through the first half of the year.

"Only 9.1 percent of the manufacturing supply managers expect the economy to expand in the next six month," he says.

Goss says one of the survey participants expects the next two quarters to be slower--that they're cutting back and watching cash in preparation

Goss says he's also keeping a wary eye on the regional real estate market.

"Residential real estate--I expect some problems there, as house prices have got to come down. Commercial real estate, likewise. We've got too much refinancing going on in commercial real estate, and we'll see some problems there," he says.

The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group has conducted the monthly survey of supply managers in nine states since 1994. States included are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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