A new survey of business leaders in nine Midwest and Plains states suggests that manufacturing growth will help fuel the regional economy through the end of the year, according to a report released on Oct. 1.
The overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index climbed for a second straight month in September, rising to 54.8 from 53.8 in August, the report said.
“Despite all of the domestic economic uncertainty, the Mid-America survey points to positive growth for the final quarter of 2013,” said Creighton University professor and economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. “Growth among durable-goods manufacturers more than offset pullbacks among nondurable producers and value-added service firms.”
Goss said weaker agriculture commodity prices had slowed growth for businesses linked to agriculture. And, he said, exports and farm income growth were down from earlier in the year.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth, while a score below that suggests decline.
The survey of supply managers covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The survey index on business confidence dropped to 51.8 last month from 53.9 in August.
“Uncertainty surrounding implementation of health care reform and the congressional-presidential budget impasse pushed supply managers’ economic outlook lower for the month,” said Goss.
September’s survey included a question asking how the Affordable Care Act was affecting hiring. More than a fourth, or 26.3 percent, reported that the health care overhaul law was making their companies more reluctant to hire new workers. Overall, according to the survey, 37.5 percent of supply managers indicated that their companies either reduced hiring or hours worked as a result of the act.