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North Dakota's economy expanded in December

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Creighton University
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A regional economic index indicates economic growth.

The regional economy is getting healthier, despite challenges with supply chain issues related to the pandemic.

Dr. Ernie Goss is an economics professor with Creighton University. He conducts a monthly survey of supply managers across the nine-state mid-America region, which includes North Dakota. North Dakota’s reading on the Business Conditions Index for the month of December was 59.4, which rose from November’s 49.6. Any reading above 50 indicates economic growth.

Goss says while North Dakota still continues to struggle finding qualified workers, output in the manufacturing sector is back up to pre-pandemic levels. And he says the state’s economy seems poised to weather upcoming “headwinds and tailwinds.”

"We're seeing, of course, global growth and expansion in exports - that's looking good for North Dakota. Agriculture and energy, very strong for North Dakota. Looking forward, you know - the tailwinds, of course, we've got a Federal Reserve that's raising interest rates. We'll see probably three rate hikes before the end of the summer, that'll bring rates up by three quarters of a percentage point. That's a headwind. We've also got supply chain disruptions; that's an issue, and it will continue into 2022."

Goss says the Fed is hoping nationwide inflation is “transitory,” but a good portion of the consumer price index is up. He says the overall rate may decrease, but it’s still well above the Fed’s target, meaning current inflation may be here to stay.