Vol. 19, No. 46 A Newspaper of General Circulation November 12, 2019
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Survey suggests growth in Kansas, Midwest economies
An October survey of business supply managers suggests a bump occurred in economic growth for Kansas and eight other Midwest and Plains states.  
The Mid-America Business Conditions index rebounded to 52.6, compared with 49.1 in September, the report said. The August figure was 49.3.  
The Kansas overall index rose to 54.6 last month from 51.1 in September. Index components were new orders at 62.0, production or sales at 56.9, delivery lead time at 50.0, employment at 52.8 and inventories at 51.3. The manufacturing sector has boosted jobs by 0.9% over the past 12 months and hourly wages by 1.4%. “Based on recent surveys of manufacturers in the state, I expect job growth to remain at its current pace, and hourly wage growth to expand above its current pace through the first quarter of 2020,” said Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who oversees the report.  
“For 2019, the Mid-America economy has been expanding at a pace well below that of the nation,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.  
“The trade war and the global economic slowdown have cut regional growth to approximately one-half that of the U.S. October’s survey results indicate that regional growth is likely to bottom at positive, but slow rate, in (the) fourth quarter of this year,” he said.  
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. In addition to Kansas, the survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.  
The regional trade numbers remained weak last month, with both export orders and imports falling, if at a slower pace. The index for new export orders rose to 44.7 from September’s 36.2, while the import index rose to 48.2 from 42.4.  
The wholesale inflation gauge for the month rose to 57.0, up from 55.3 in August.  
Nearly 60% of supply managers reported that tariffs had increased the prices of supplies and inputs purchased by their companies, Goss said.  
“However, tariffs have, to date, have had little impact on our wholesale inflation gauge,” said Goss.  
Looking ahead six months, the October business confidence index slipped to 47.3 from September’s 47.7 reading.  
“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.  
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