Business

Fires slowed growth in Kansas manufacturing, but the rest of the region is strong

A cow grazed by a wildfire near Protection, Kan., in early March. Disruptions from fires, which included forced evacuations of towns and road closures, slowed manufacturing activity in the state.
A cow grazed by a wildfire near Protection, Kan., in early March. Disruptions from fires, which included forced evacuations of towns and road closures, slowed manufacturing activity in the state. File photo

Manufacturing continues to roll in nine Midwest states, including Missouri, though activity slowed in Kansas last month as wildfires raged in the state, surveys of companies’ purchasing managers showed.

An index generated from the surveys, which were conducted by Creighton University, dipped to a still strong 60.1 last month, from 60.5 in February. Any reading higher than 50 shows growth in manufacturing activity in the region.

Dry weather, high winds and lots of fuel for fire has caused hundreds of thousands of acres to be burned, thousands of cattle to be killed and families to be displaced. The size and number of fires stretch fire departments and many firefighters ar

A specific index for Kansas fell sharply — to 52.2 in March from 61.5 in February — likely due to disruptions from fires in the state.

“It is too early to determine, but it is clear that fires across the state negatively affected the index. I expect those negative impacts to continue into April,” said Ernie Goss, the Creighton professor behind the Mid-America Business Conditions Index.

Creighton’s index in Missouri dipped to 66.6 in March, from 66.8 in February.

“The overall index over the past several months indicates a healthy regional manufacturing economy and points to positive growth for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing through the third quarter of this year,” Goss said in the report.

A national index based on similar surveys dipped slightly in March to 57.2 from 57.7 in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The institute said it marked the 94th month its index showed manufacturing expansion.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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