(KFOR NEWS  January 4, 2021)  For a second straight month, the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, fell, but remained above growth neutral for the month.

In April of this year, COVID-19 pushed the overall index to its lowest level in 11 years. Since April, the overall index has climbed above growth neutral 50.0 for seven of the past eight months. The Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, dropped to 64.1 from November’s 69.0.

December Survey Results at a Glance:

  • For a second straight month, the regional Business Conditions Index declined, but remained in growth range.
  • Approximately 36% of manufacturers reported that finding and hiring qualified workers would be their top challenge for 2021. This compares to 70% recorded last year at this time.
  • On average, supply managers expect to receive an average wage and salary increase of 2.1%. This compares to 2.5% recorded at this time last year.
  • The wholesale inflation gauge indicates elevated inflation in the pipeline.
  • Comparative 2020 economic performance from top to bottom: (1) Nebraska, South Dakota, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Minnesota and (9) North Dakota.

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