OMAHA, Neb. — A business conditions index for nine Midwest and Plains states dropped over the past month but still suggests that regional economic conditions are improving, a survey report said Friday.
The Mid-America Business Conditions Index slipped to 57.2 in November from 58.8 in October, the report said. The September figure was 58.2.
"Both the national and our regional indices indicate the manufacturing sector is advancing at a very healthy pace and that this expansion will spill over into the broader national and regional economies in the next three to six months," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline. The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The improving conditions were reflected in the employment index, which rose to 53.6 last month from 52.9 in October.
The regional manufacturing sector has added about 25,000 jobs, or 1.8 percent expansion, Goss said. That growth rate significantly exceeds the 1.3 percent sector growth for the nation, he said.
Economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, jumped to 71.9 in November from 63.8 in October. Goss credited healthy profit growth, low interest rates and the potential congressional passage of a tax cut package.