OMAHA, Neb. — A new monthly survey of business leaders suggests the economy is slowing down in nine Midwest and Plains states as the U.S. trade war with China continues, according to a report released Monday.
The overall index for the region slipped into negative territory at 48.6 in November from October's 52.6.
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.
"Slow global growth and trade skirmishes and wars are negatively affecting growth among manufacturers in the region," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group uses the same methodology as the national survey to consult supply managers and business leaders. Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss oversees the report.
The overall index ranges between 0 and 100. Growth neutral is 50, and a figure greater than 50 indicates growth in that factor over the next three to six months.
The overall index for Missouri sank to 48.4 from October's 53.6. Index components were new orders at 46.7, production or sales at 43.9, delivery lead time at 59.8, inventories at 55.1, and employment at 37.6.
"Over the past 12 months the state's manufacturing sector has boosted hourly wages by 2.4%, eighth in the nine-state region. While manufacturing job losses for November were noteworthy, metal products producers and computer and component manufacturers are adding jobs at a solid pace," Goss said.
The regional trade numbers showed new export orders falling to 39.1 from October's 44.7. But imports increased to 52 in November from last month's 48.2 as supply managers bought additional items ahead of higher tariffs expected in the weeks ahead.
The region's employment index fell to 37.2 in November from October's 50 as some businesses struggled to find workers to hire. Goss said the availability of workers continues to constrain job growth in the region.
The confidence index, which measures sentiment about the next six months, improved to 52.9 in November from October's 47.3. Goss said business confidence will depend on the progress in trade talks with China and the passage of the nation's trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
The wholesale price index, which measures inflation, increased to 65.7 in November from 57 in October. Goss said tariffs have had only a modest impact on inflation so far.