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Missouri business conditions soar to top of nine-state midwest region

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(The Center Square) – Business conditions in Missouri soared to the top of a nine-state region tracked by the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index.

Missouri jumped from a 55.2 index rating in May to 61.8 in June. An index rating of 50 indicates neutral growth. Missouri’s May index also was highest in the nine-state region.

The June index for the region increased to 51.3 from 48.2 in May, marking the third time the index rose above growth neutral during 2024.

“The overall index, much like the U.S. reading, has vacillated around growth neutral since December of 2023,” Ernie Goss, director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the regional economics chairman in the Heider College of Business, said in a statement. “Additionally, supply managers remained pessimistic regarding the 2024 outlook with approximately 48% expecting a downturn in economic activity for the remainder of 2024.”

Missouri’s index for inventories was 84.2 in June, compared to the regional index of 57.3. Missouri’s inventory index was 74.8 in May and 59.7 in April.

“At this time, it cannot be determined if the buildup in inventories over the last several months is due to higher expected future sales or a slowdown in current sales producing rising inventories,” Goss said, referring to the overall inventory index.

Missouri’s manufacturing exports increased 10.3% so far this year, the regional report stated with a reference to the U.S. International Trade Administration. Exports increased year-to-date from $4.9 billion to $5.4 billion.

Missouri’s employment index was 59.1, compared to the regional index of 44, marking the sixth consecutive month the regional index was below 50.

Job postings in Missouri decreased 7.4% in May compared to May 2023, according to a report from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Online job postings fell from 67,430 in May 2023 to 62,470 in May. Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5%, one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the previous month and higher than the 2.9% in May 2023.

Missouri’s delivery lead time index was 58.9 and its production or sales was 58 in June. Missouri’s only category below neutral growth was new orders at 49.1.

The region’s wholesale prices indicate inflationary pressures are decreasing. The report doesn’t provide an index for Missouri’s wholesale prices, but the region dropped to 61.4 from 70.8 in May.

“The regional inflation yardstick has moved into a range indicating inflationary pressures moving toward the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) target for the second half of 2024,” Goss said. “As a result, I expect the Fed to cut interest rates at its September meetings.”

States included in the survey are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

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