December report: Midwest economy, confidence improve

OMAHA, Neb. — Business leaders in nine Midwest and Plains states indicated in a monthly survey that the region’s economy continued to improve going into the new year, with confidence in the economy over the next six months soaring, according to 2021’s final report released today.

The overall index for December of the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions grew to 64.6 from November’s 60.2. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession.

December’s survey results indicate growth in manufacturing in the region and that the region’s economic growth will remain solid, said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the monthly survey.

“In terms of supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks for the first half of 2022, approximately one-third of supply managers expect delays to worsen, with only 1 in 6 anticipating improvements,” Goss said.

About half of supply managers expect the omicron variant of COVID-19 to slow deliveries, while more than 42% anticipate little or no impact on supply deliveries, he said.

The survey’s business confidence index, which looks ahead six months, rocketed from a weak 46.2 in November to 64.0 in December.

The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.