OMAHA (AP) — A September survey of business supply managers suggests a slump in economic growth still grips nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions index fell further below growth neutral, hitting 49.1 last month compared with 49.3 in August. The figure was 52.0 in July.

The decline was the fifth in six months for the overall index, which had remained above growth neutral for 32 straight months.

“The trade war and the global economic slowdown have cut regional growth to approximately two-thirds that of the U.S.,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. “Based on the last two months of surveys of manufacturing supply managers, both the U.S. and Mid-America economies are likely to move even lower in the months ahead.”

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, rose slightly last month. It hit 47.7, compared with August’s 45.0.

“I expect business confidence to depend heavily on trade talks with China, and the passage of the nation’s trade agreement with Canada and Mexico,” Goss said.

Companies shrank inventories of raw materials and supplies last month, the report said.

“This is yet another signal of weak business confidence as manufacturers reduce their inventories of raw materials and supplies based on an anemic sales outlook,” Goss said.

The regional trade numbers remained far below growth neutral in September. The index for new export orders sank to 36.2, down from August’s 39.6, and the import index increased slightly to 42.4 from 42.3 in August.

Here are the state-by-state results for September:

Iowa: Iowa’s overall index remained below the growth neutral threshold for second straight month. It hit 49.6 last month. August’s figure was 49.7. Index components were new orders at 45.9, production or sales at 49.1, delivery lead time at 57.0, employment at 48.3 and inventories at 47.9. Manufacturers experienced solid growth over the past several months, the report said, but new orders and hiring among manufacturers for the last two months signal slowing economic conditions.

Nebraska: Nebraska’s overall index moved slightly into growth territory. The state’s overall index climbed to 50.6 from August’s 49.3. Index components were new orders at 49.3, production or sales at 49.0, delivery lead time at 57.1, inventories at 48.2 and employment at 49.4. Construction activity in the state continues to improve, and manufacturers are experiencing almost flat growth with new orders and other indicators pointing to slow to no growth in the months ahead, he said.

Kansas: The state’s overall index rose above growth neutral to reach 51.1 in September. Kansas’ August figure was 49.9. Index components were new orders at 51.4, production or sales at 48.7, delivery lead time at 57.5, employment at 49.2 and inventories at 48.8. “Durable- and nondurable-goods producers have been expanding at a slow, but positive pace, over the past several months,” Goss said. “However, survey results over the past two months point to even slower growth in the months ahead.”

Minnesota: Minnesota’s overall index dipped to 48.4 in September from 48.6 in August. Index components were new orders at 49.7, production or sales at 49.7, delivery lead time at 56.3, inventories at 43.1 and employment at 44.6. “Construction activity in the state remains very strong even as durable- and nondurable-goods manufacturers reported pullbacks in economic activity,” Goss said.

Missouri: The state’s overall index dropped below growth neutral last month. It hit 49.2, compared with August’s 50.1. Missouri’s index components were new orders at 48.9, production or sales at 48.8, delivery lead time at 55.2, inventories at 42.3 and employment at 48.8. Construction activity in the state continues to improve, and manufacturers are experiencing essentially flat growth with new orders and other indicators pointing to slow to no growth in the months ahead, Goss said.

North Dakota: The state’s overall index slipped to 50.1 from 51.2 in August. Index components were new orders at 49.2, production or sales at 49.4, delivery lead time at 56.6, employment at 47.7 and inventories at 47.4. “Growth in the state’s large energy sector and related industries has slowed for much of 2019,” Goss said. “Slow growth in the state’s durable-goods manufacturing sector offset pullbacks among nondurable-goods producers in the state.” Overall growth in the North Dakota economy will remain positive, he said, but slower in the final quarter of 2019.

South Dakota: The state’s overall index sank further below growth neutral to hit 47.8 in September, compared with 48.3 in August. Index components were new orders at 42.6, production or sales at 49.5, delivery lead time at 56.5, inventories at 47.2 and employment at 43.2. South Dakota’s construction activity continues to improve. Manufacturers, on the other hand, are experiencing “almost flat growth with new orders and other indicators pointing to slow to no growth in the months ahead,” Goss said.

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