Conditions for Midwest manufacturing grew but at a slower pace for the
month of June, while supply managers nationwide reported a mild uptick in
activity, according to two closely watched economic reports released Monday.
Manufacturers surveyed in a nine state region by Creighton University reported growth thanks to strong durable goods sales. But they also noted that economic conditions had slowed for a third month as exports were hurt by the strengthening U.S. dollar. Activity also slowed somewhat due to federal "sequestration" budget cuts and a drop in optimism.
Still, the region continued to do better than producers nationwide.
"Our regional gauge has been significantly stronger than the national reading over the past several months," said report author Ernie Goss, director of Creighton University's Economic Forecasting Group. "Given other economic data over this same period of time, I think our regional indices have been on target pointing to positive, but [showing] slowing growth with diminishing inflationary pressures."
The Business Conditions Index dipped to 55.6 in June from 56.2 in May for the nine states that include Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Any index above 50 indicates growth, while any index below 50 signals economic contraction.
Minnesota's index grew in June to 56.2 from 55.2 in May thanks to a construction boom; stronger sales of appliances, cars and other "durable" goods; and growth in employment, production and inventories.
Nationwide, the Institute for Supply Management saw its business conditions index rise to 50.9 in June from 49.0 in May thanks to production gains and a bump in raw material prices. Twelve of 18 industries reported gains for the month, including furniture, clothing, paper and electrical equipment makers.
Dee DePass --612-673-7725
(c)2013 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
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