Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's Purchasing Index Up

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's Purchasing Index Up

Article excerpt

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Oklahoma's purchasing manager index rose in February for the third straight month, indicating growth in the state's manufacturing sector and pointing to stronger growth for the overall economy in the coming months.

The overall index rose to 55.7 last month, up from 52.8 in January.

"While higher oil prices are a significant burden for most states in the region, they are responsible for improving conditions for many firms in Oklahoma as evidenced by the rising index," said Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who prepared the index as part of a monthly nine-state survey of purchasing managers.

"Oklahoma's employment index rose to a regional high of 60.9 indicating that despite significant labor constraints, Oklahoma firms were able to increase their hiring," he added.

The Sooner State's confidence index stood at a low 41.3 for February, but was up from January's 37.5. Oklahoma and North Dakota were the only states in which confidence regarding future economic conditions improved. Looking beyond Oklahoma's borders, Goss said that while higher oil prices and labor shortages have added fuel to an inflationary fire in the Midwest, his Mid-America Business Conditions survey showed no signs of a cooling economy. The four interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve have had little slowing effect.

February's overall index for the nine-state survey was 58.8, up from 54.8 in January. That is the highest overall index since April 1998, Goss said. …

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