Business

Mixed signs about February’s economy

Surveys of companies’ purchasing and credit managers showed continued economic expansion in February, albeit at a slower pace nationally than in January.
Surveys of companies’ purchasing and credit managers showed continued economic expansion in February, albeit at a slower pace nationally than in January. Bloomberg

Midwest manufacturing strengthened in February despite weaker energy activity and port disruptions in the west, a survey of companies’ purchasing managers showed.

An index generated from the regional managers’ outlooks climbed to 57.0 from 54.8 in January. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in economic activity.

Employment continued to grow in the nine-state region covered by the report, though less than previously, said Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton University, which produces the survey.

“Businesses linked to agriculture and energy are laying off workers as firms outside these two sectors are expanding hiring at a positive pace,” Goss said Monday in an announcement of the survey results.

Creighton’s index reading for Kansas dipped to 52.7 from 53.8 in January, and in Missouri is edged upward to 56.8 from 56.1.

Meanwhile, a national survey of purchasing managers also showed continued expansion in manufacturing activity last month. The Institute for Supply Management’s index based on its surveys slipped to 52.9 from 53.5 in January. Its report noted growing concerns from supply managers about “the West Coast dock slowdown, negatively impacting exports and imports and requiring workarounds and added costs.”

A similar national index based on surveys of credit managers fell during February, though it continued to show expansion. The index from the National Association of Credit Management, which reflects manufacturing and services businesses, fell to 53.2 in February from 55.1 in January.

“The reduction in the overall score was reflected in reductions across the board – favorable and unfavorable factors and in both the manufacturing and service sectors,” economist Chris Kuehl said in the report from the credit management group.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @mdkcstar.

  Comments