- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Institute for Supply Management, formerly the Purchasing Management Association, began formally surveying its membership in 1931 to gauge business conditions.

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 an expanding economy over the next three to six months.

Here are the state-by-state results for March:

Arkansas: The overall index rose to 62.6 in March from February’s 55.1. Components of the index were new orders at 75.2, production or sales at 49.8, delivery lead time at 58.4, inventories at 78.5 and employment at 50.9. “Arkansas construction activity continues to expand, but overall building activity remains well below prerecession levels,” Goss said. “Manufacturers continue to expand output via higher productivity and increases in hours worked and thus are not expanding employment at the point in time. I expect manufacturers and nonmanufacturers in Arkansas to add jobs at a healthy pace in quarter two of this year,” he said.

Iowa: Iowa’s overall index climbed to a regional high of 67.2 in March from February’s 64.5. Components of the index were new orders at 69.4, production or sales at 70.8, delivery lead time at 71.3, employment at 60.7 and inventories at 63.6. Manufacturers have been adding jobs in Iowa, Goss said. “Based on our surveys over the past several months, I expect manufacturers and nonmanufacturers to expand jobs and output at the higher rate in the second quarter of 2014. Exports will remain an important component of growth. Of the nine Mid-American states, Iowa’s economy is the most dependent on exports,” he said.

Kansas: The Kansas overall index dropped to a still solid 54.6 in March from 55.1 in February. Components of the index were new orders at 41.2, production or sales at 67.0, delivery lead time at 49.9, employment at 51.0 and inventories at 63.6. “Contrary to the rest of the region, nondurable-goods producers in Kansas are expanding at a faster pace than durable-goods manufacturers. Based on our survey results over the past several months, I expect the Kansas economy to expand jobs and overall economic activity for the second quarter of this year,” Goss said.

Minnesota: For the 16th month in a row, Minnesota’s overall index has remained above growth neutral. The index rose to 66.1 last month from February’s 64.1. Components of the index were new orders at 65.0, production or sales at 71.7, delivery lead time at 64.5, inventories at 74.8 and employment at 54.7. “Expansions among Minnesota manufacturers and value-added services companies continue to push the overall economy into a robust growth range,” Goss said.

Missouri: The March overall index grew to 53.8 from 53.6 for February. Components of the index were new orders at 49.9, production or sales at 54.6, delivery lead time at 56.7, inventories at 53.6 and employment at 54.2. “Durable-goods producers, especially those tied to exports and motor vehicle manufacturing, are expanding jobs and overall economic activity at a healthy pace. I expect this growth to spill over into the broader economy in the next two quarters,” Goss said.

Nebraska: For the fourth month in a row, Nebraska’s overall index remained above growth neutral, hitting 54.8 in March, compared with 53.9 in February. Components of the index were new orders at 56.6, production or sales at 58.9, delivery lead time at 46.1, inventories at 53.2 and employment at 59.1. “The pace of Nebraska growth is quickening. Nondurable-goods manufacturers, including food processors, are expanding output and jobs while growth for durable-goods producers has slowed to nil. I expect the overall Nebraska economy, including manufacturing, to expand over the next two quarters,” Goss said.

North Dakota: North Dakota’s index rose to 60.3 last month from February’s 57.6. Components of the overall index were new orders at 60.0, production or sales at 55.5, delivery lead time at 66.1, employment at 64.4 and inventories at 55.8. “Manufacturing growth remains positive. However, growth among firms tied to energy have once again begun to push overall state economy growth well above the pace of the region and the nation. Absent housing and labor shortages in portions of the state, North Dakota growth could be double its current pace, according to our surveys over the past several months,” said Goss.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s overall index rose to 59.5 in March from 58.9 in February. Components were new orders at 69.6, production or sales at 59.4, delivery lead time at 52.4, inventories at 56.4 and employment at 60.0. “Food processors in Oklahoma are experiencing pullbacks in economic activity,” Goss said. “Firms linked to vehicle manufacturers are benefiting from expansions among U.S. automobile production. Expansions among firms tied to energy are also pushing state growth higher,” he said.

South Dakota: The South Dakota overall index rose to 63.8 last month, compared with 60.9 in February. Components of the overall index were new orders at 63.0, production or sales at 75.3, delivery lead time at 50.3, inventories at 64.3 and employment at 65.9. “There are more South Dakotans working than ever before,” Goss said. “Manufacturers are growing jobs and output at a healthy pace. This is spilling over into the broader state economy. Based on our survey results, I expect the rate of growth to quicken in the months ahead,” he said.



Creighton Economic Forecasting Group: http: //www.outlook-economic.com

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