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Index shows South Dakota breaking economic record, North Dakota struggling

(The Center Square) – The Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index shows South Dakota reached another record high in April while North Dakota remains below growth neutral.

The index range is 0 to 100 with 50 at growth neutral. Nine midwestern states are measured for the report.

North Dakota is at 44.8 for April, remaining below growth neutral for the second month in a row. The state’s lowest number was employment, which is at 39 and its highest is new orders at 57.4.

North Dakota’s southern neighbor is doing better. South Dakota is at 61.4, a record high and the third in a row, according to the university. The state’s highest number was in inventory at 79.6.

Iowa also fared well, with an overall increase to 55.3 from March’s 51.8. Arkansas is at 53.2, up from 50.1. Oklahoma jumped to 54.7 from 53.3.

“The overall index, much like the U.S. reading, has vacillated around growth neutral for the last five months. Additionally, supply managers remained pessimistic regarding the 2024 outlook with approximately 45% expecting a recession in the second half of 2024,” said Ernie Goss PhD, director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics in the Heider College of Business.

Sixty-eight percent of supply managers predicted economic deterioration in March’s survey, Goss said.

The region’s employment index has also continued to decline, according to the report. The manufacturing sector lost jobs for the fourth month in a row.

“Over the past 12 months, according to the latest monthly U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the number of discharges and layoffs in the region soared by 24.5%, or 35,000 job involuntary separations over the 12 months,” Goss said.

Supply managers cited inflation, the national debt and crude oil prices as affecting their businesses.

“Price of fuel and housing starting to impact our business dramatically. Fuel is stable, but housing is weak, so business is soft, but fairly stable,” one supply manager said.

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