The Midwest economy is slowing, according to the latest survey from Creighton University. The overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index was at 48.6 in November. Fifty is growth neutral.
“This is a survey of supply managers,” said Creighton economist Ernie Goss. “Of course, they’re at the leading end of the value chain. What happens to supply managers today happens to the rest of us down the road. It was the weakest index that we’ve recorded in three years.”
Kansas kept some of its strength individually in the November Mid-America Business Conditions Index.
“Aerospace is adding jobs there and that’s an important industry for Kansas,” said Goss. “Agriculture is at least stabilized. The industries we survey that are connected to agriculture are doing a bit better, but that’s as much as we can say.”
Goss is still concerned about the horizon, however.
“Growth right now, for the current quarter we’re in is about one-fourth to one-fifth of what it was earlier in the year,” said Goss. “Overall, economic growth is trending downward. There is an expectation that quarter one of 2020 will be somewhat better.”
Goss is concerned that the Federal Reserve has done as much as it can do without considering negative interest rates. President Trump has put such ideas on the table in the past, but it hasn’t proven to be positive policy when implemented previously in other nations.