(The Center Square) – Iowa’s economic outlook improved slightly in October, but a majority of regional managers are expecting an economic downturn in early 2024, according to the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index.
Iowa’s index inched to 49.9 from 48.5 in September, according to the report. Scores range from 0 to 100, with anything below 50 considered growth neutral.
All of the components that comprise Iowa’s score are below 50, except for delivery lead time, which is at 52.3. New orders are 46.6, production or sales 48.1, employment 48.7 and inventories 49.5, the report said.
Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly in September to 3% from 2.9% in August, according to figures released by Iowa Workforce Development. The state lost 500 jobs, the agency said.
The regional index compiles surveys from supply managers in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The overall ranking dropped to 51.5 from 52.5 in September.
“The Mid-America regional manufacturing economy has weakened from earlier in the year and from the same period in 2022,” said 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. “Approximately 60% of supply managers expect an economic downturn in the first half of 2024.”
Inflation and labor shortages were the top two concerns of supply managers.
“Inflation and social spending (spending period) are out of control,” one manager said in the survey. ‘Prices are high and no one wants to work. This is not sustainable.”