Report: Midwest economy had a good August, but North Dakota’s activity slows again

(Source: Bismarck Tribune) – Employment expanded in August in the region encompassing nine Midwest and Plains states including North Dakota, and supply chain disruptions eased.

Economic optimism also increased among supply managers who took part in Creighton University’s Mid-America Business Conditions survey, though it remained at a weak level.

The survey’s overall index for August dropped to a still-solid 55.5 from July’s 59.8. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession. The overall business barometer remained above growth-neutral for the 27th straight month.

“The region continues to add manufacturing activity at a solid pace — with significant but declining inflationary pressures,” said Creighton economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.

The survey’s business confidence index, which looks ahead six months, increased to a still-weak 32.2 from 26.8 in July.  Almost six of 10 supply managers identified supply chain disruptions as the major business challenge for the rest of this year. One out of four named labor shortages as their firm’s greatest 2022 challenge.

Confidence indices for 2022 continue to be the worst recorded since the 2008-09 recession, according to Goss.

North Dakota’s Numbers Shrink

Meanwhile, North Dakota’s economy slowed for a third straight month. The August index for the state fell to 48.8 from July’s 47.8. Components were: new orders at 44.5, production or sales at 53.7, delivery lead time at 56.3, employment at 40.2 and inventories at 49.2.

“Durable goods manufacturers are reporting positive growth,” Goss said. “On the other hand, nondurable goods manufacturers, including food processors, are reporting pullbacks in economic activity. (Federal) data indicate that average hourly manufacturing wages have expanded by a weak 4.4% over the past 12 months.”

That data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

Dig Deeper: The full report from Creighton University may be found here.