Mid-American Business Conditions index below growth-neutral | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Mid-American Business Conditions index below growth-neutral

Oct 2, 2019

Uncertainty.

That’s how Creighton University professor Ernie Goss describes his latest Mid-American Business Conditions Index.

The index comes from a survey of supply managers in the Mid-American region, that includes North Dakota.

Under the formula, an index under 50 indicates an economic slowdown – and the region’s index slumped to 49.1.

North Dakota’s index remained barely above growth neutral, at 50.1

"Things are really slowing down right now," Goss said in an interview. "We're seeing it in our region, in North Dakota, and across the US."

Goss said the “bug-a-boo,” as he put it, is trade. He pointed to Congressional inaction on the new United States, Mexico and Canada free trade agreement -- something he calls "NAFTA 2.0."

"We need to see that trade agreement settled," Goss said. "That does cause a lot of uncertainty."

Goss said energy, manufacturing and agriculture are all weak. And he said the whole “Brexit” battle, involving Britain and the European Union, is causing even more concern.

"When you have uncertainty among business leaders, and supply managers, and those we survey, they're reluctant to purchase an invest in the overall economy, taking a 'wait and see' approach," Goss said. "And when you take a 'wait and see' approach, it's not good for the economy."

Goss said he believes North Dakota will still see job growth, but at a slower pace.

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