OMAHA, Nebraska — Slumping numbers in a July survey suggest there will be slow to no economic growth over the next three to six months in nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report issued Monday.
The overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 50.6 in July from 53.0 in June, the survey said.
"Businesses tied to agriculture and energy continue to report pullbacks in economic activity, and this is spilling over into the broader regional economy," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.
The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as reflected by the July business confidence index, plummeted to 52.4 from June's 59.9.
"Sinking agriculture and energy commodity prices pushed supply managers' expectations of future economic conditions lower for the month," Goss said.
The regional employment gauge rose less than a point in July, to 50.0 from 49.1 in June, Goss said, but it remained at a level pointing to slow to no new hiring in the months ahead.
The new export orders index fell to 47.4 last month from 51.3 in June. The import index dipped only slightly, to 54.7 from June's 54.8.
"Slowing global economic growth and the rising value of the U.S. dollar reduced new export orders," Goss said. "On the other hand, the rising value of the U.S. dollar, which makes foreign goods more competitively priced in the U.S, boosted regional imports."