Mid-America Manufacturing Rockets to Record High

(KFOR NEWS  May 3, 2021)  For an 11th straight month, the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, moved into growth territory.          The Wholesale Price Index soared to 30 year high in April, indicating very strong growth for next 3 to 6 months.  Other results of the survey:

  • The speed of the delivery of raw materials and supplies slowed to its lowest pace on record.
  • The wholesale inflation gauge soars to a 30-year high.
  • Regarding their firm’s greatest 2021 challenge, supply chain bottlenecks, higher prices and finding and hiring qualified workers were the most mentioned.
  • More than nine out of 10 supply managers, or 93%, reported supply bottlenecks, or delays for April.

Overall Index: The Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, soared to its highest level since initiation of the survey almost three decades ago. The index climbed to 73.9 from March’s very strong 68.9. Creighton’s regional manufacturing activity gauge is surging, but supply bottlenecks and labor shortages continue to restrain growth.

More than nine out of 10 supply managers, or 93%, reported supply bottlenecks, or delays, for April with 40% indicating that the delays were significant.

As reported by one supply manager, “The (freezing temperatures in the south) followed by panic buying and opportunistic price increases have further stressed supply chains. I believe this could be followed by a downturn.”

“In March and April of last year, the region lost 106,000 manufacturing jobs. However, since bottoming in April of last year, Mid-America has added 58,000 manufacturing jobs. Creighton’s monthly survey results indicate that the region is adding manufacturing business activity at a healthy pace, and that growth will remain strong well into the second half of 2021,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics in the Heider College of Business.

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