OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The Midwest economy is booming and inflation is low, but imports and a labor shortage pressuring businesses to raise wages could cut into companies' profits, a Creighton University economics professor said Wednesday.
The overall index was 61.2 in March, up from 59.8 in February, said Ernie Goss, who compiles the Mid-America Business Conditions Index each month by surveying purchasing managers in a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.
Oklahoma purchasing managers reported an overall index of 62.5 for March, up sharply from February's 47.1. Individual state indices ranged from a low of 54.1 in Arkansas and Minnesota to a high of 70.8 in South Dakota. "I think the February index was a bit of an anomaly," Goss said of Oklahoma, "although low energy prices are causing some weakness in that sector. Overall, there is a good level of growth in other sectors of the state's economy, with purchasers reporting strength in new orders and production along with virtually no inflation, as evidenced by price index of 50. Purchasing managers in Oklahoma remain cautious about the future, however, reporting the second lowest confidence index in the region at 55. …