A monthly index of the mid-America economy is at its highest point in nearly three years. The survey of supply managers in nine states indicates solid hiring in the manufacturing sector.
The Mid-America Business Conditions Index compiled by Creighton University economist Ernie Goss stands at a strong 60.5 for February. This is well above the growth neutral mark of 50. Goss says the reading for Iowa is even healthier at 62.6.
“We’re seeing better numbers for food processing, ethanol production is doing better," Goss says. "Ethanol and food processing are important industries in the state of Iowa.”
Goss says business confidence in mid-America is higher than it has been in six years.
“Manufacturing is, at least, picking up a bit," he says. "We’re seeing some economic enthusiasm, confidence, if you will, and I think that’s pushing the numbers higher.”
Goss expects job growth to continue in Iowa over the next six months. He warns, however, economic prosperity in the state is primarily in urban areas. He says rural parts are still under the influence of a recession in the ag industry. He says metal manufacturers and agriculture equipment makers continue to lag.