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Creighton survey finds minor slip, but strong midwest economy overall

(Courtesy Radio Iowa News’ Matt Kelly) – The Midwestern economy faltered slightly during the past month but it’s still healthy and chugging along, while Iowa’s economy is thriving, according to a survey. Creighton University questioned supply managers and business leaders across the nine-state region.

Creighton economist Ernie Goss says Iowa’s numbers were the highest in the Midwest, while the region as a whole experienced a minor slip. “The leading economic indicator from our April survey was down a bit but still very strong,” Goss says.

“That goes up against the March number which was a little stronger. This is pointing to pretty solid growth in the next three to six months.” Iowa’s jobless picture continues to improve, according to the survey. Compared to pre-recession levels, Goss says Iowa is now down only one-half of one-percentage point in terms of employment.

“The employment number is looking very good,” Goss says. “Companies are continuing to hire, especially durable goods manufacturing and anything connected to agriculture and housing.” The automatic, across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration got plenty of attention earlier this year, but Goss says it’s caused very little harm to businesses in the Midwest.

Goss says, “We asked the supply managers the last two months, in fact, three-fourths of them say no impact, 25% say modest impacts, while none — that’s zero companies — in our entire survey, that’s remarkable, say there were significant impacts.”

It marks the fourth straight month where Iowa’s overall economic numbers have improved. Goss says both durable and nondurable goods manufacturers in Iowa report very healthy business activity with job gains.