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Economist: Shortage of Skilled Workers Curbs Midwest Economy

Economist: Shortage of Skilled Workers Curbs Midwest Economy

Created: December 03, 2018 10:36 AM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An economist says a monthly survey suggests the economy continued to expand in nine Midwest and Plains states last month but was hampered by shortages of skilled workers.

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A survey report issued Monday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 54.1 in November from 54.9 in October. The September reading was 57.5.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says that in addition to the hiring problems, the supply managers who responded report mounting harm from tariffs and trade disagreements.

The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group uses the same methodology as the national survey to consult supply managers and business leaders.

The overall index ranges between 0 and 100. Growth neutral is 50, and a figure greater than 50 indicates growth in that factor over the next three to six months.

Here are the state-by-state results for November:

Arkansas: The overall Arkansas index rose to 53.9 last month from October's 52.9. Index components were new orders at 50.9, production or sales at 52.2, delivery lead time at 55.9, inventories at 53.4 and employment at 57.3. Arkansas nondurable-goods manufacturers added 1,400 workers for a 1.7 percent gain over the past 12 months, Goss said. And Arkansas' durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 800 for a 1.1 percent gain.

Iowa: The state's overall index climbed a point to hit 52.8 in November, compared with 51.8 in October. Index components were new orders at 50.0, production or sales at 51.0, delivery lead time at 54.6, employment at 56.1 and inventories at 52.2. Iowa nondurable-goods manufacturers added 3,100 workers for a 3.3 percent gain over the past 12 months, he said. Durable-goods producers in the state boosted jobs by 6,100 for a 4.9 percent gain over the same period.

Kansas: Kansas' overall index inched up to 51.6 last month from October's 51.4. Index components were new orders at 49.1, production or sales at 49.8, delivery lead time at 53.3, employment at 55.0 and inventories at 50.9. The state's nondurable-goods manufacturers added 900 workers for a 1.3 percent gain over the past 12 months. During this same period of time, durable-goods producers in the state boosted jobs by 2,800 for a 3 percent gain.

Minnesota: The state's overall index dropped to 53.9 in November, down a point from 54.9 in October. Index components were new orders at 50.8, production or sales at 52.1, delivery lead time at 55.8, inventories at 53.3 and employment at 57.2. Minnesota's nondurable-goods manufacturers added 700 workers for a 0.6 percent gain over the past 12 months, while durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 5,100 for a 2.5 percent gain.

Missouri: Missouri's overall index rose to 54.7 last month from 52.5 in October. Index components were new orders at 51.5, production or sales at 53.0, delivery lead time at 56.7, inventories at 54.2 and employment at 58.1. Missouri's nondurable-goods manufacturers lost 1,500 jobs - a 1.4 percent loss over the past 12 months. But durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 8,200 for a 5.2 percent gain.

Nebraska: The state's overall index slipped to 51.3 in November from October's 51.5. Index components were new orders at 48.9, production or sales at 49.5, delivery lead time at 53.0, inventories at 50.6 and employment at 54.7. Nebraska's nondurable-goods manufacturers added 2,000 workers for a 3.7 percent gain over the past 12 months, while durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 2,300 for a 5.2 percent gain.

North Dakota: North Dakota's overall index dropped to 57.6 last month from 61.3 for October. Index components were new orders at 63.5, production or sales at 63.3, delivery lead time at 68.7, employment at 58.1 and inventories at 52.9. North Dakota's nondurable-goods manufacturers added 200 workers for a 2.3 percent rate of growth over the past 12 months, while durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 500 for a 3 percent gain.

Oklahoma: The state's overall index climbed to 55.9 in November from October's 55.0. Index components were new orders at 52.4, production or sales at 54.3, delivery lead time at 58.0, inventories at 55.5 and employment at 59.3. Oklahoma's nondurable-goods manufacturers shed 2,200 workers - a 5.5 percent loss over the past 12 months. But durable-goods producers in the state boosted jobs by 3,100 for a 3.5 percent gain.

South Dakota: South Dakota's overall index jumped to 55.6 last month, compared with 52.6 in October. Index components were new orders at 52.2, production or sales at 53.9, delivery lead time at 57.7, inventories at 55.2 and employment at 59.0. South Dakota's nondurable-goods manufacturers added 600 workers for a 3.8 percent gain over the past 12 months, while durable-goods producers boosted jobs by 1,400 for a 5.1 percent gain.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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