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Though Midwest economy is growing, it still needs trade support, economist says

The October Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index climbed above growth neutral in October at 52.6.

“Ours is more based on agriculture and industries tied to agriculture, I should say, and also energy,” said economist Ernie Goss. “It’s a little bit of a different situation in this part of the country, so things are looking better. In Kansas, the number was at a regional high.”

The Kansas Business Conditions Index for October rose to 54.6 from September’s 51.1, but Goss thinks we have to look at the globe to continue to grow.

“Interest rates have gotten so low right now, I just don’t think lower interest rates are really going to do the trick,” said Goss. “To get really sustained, solid growth for Kansas and the region and for the U.S. for that matter, we need to see good trade agreements, whether that’s with the E.U., or whether that’s with China or other nations.”

Both the executive and the legislative branches of government can help with this.

“The Chinese and the European trade, the tariffs that are about to go into effect and have gone into effect, that’s on the President’s table,” said Goss. “As far as USMCA, or the NAFTA 2.0, I’ll call it, that’s in Congress. Congress, both the House and the Senate, have been dragging their feet.”

Despite the negative impacts of the trade war, more than half, or 54% of supply managers, support continuing or even expanding trade restrictions and tariffs on Chinese imports.

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