Manufacturing activity held its own in February across nine Midwestern states, a survey of companies’ purchasing managers showed.
Creighton University’s Mid-America Business Conditions Index climbed to a neutral 50.5 last month from a weak 48.3 in January. Any reading below 50 is considered a sign of contraction in manufacturing activity.
The recent survey also pointed toward a better job market ahead, economics professor Ernie Goss said in the university’s report.
“Employment is a lagging economic indicator. Therefore, I expect the solid improvement in new orders and production for the month to spill over into the job market in the months ahead with modest gains for the overall regional labor market,” Goss said.
The national purchasing managers survey led to a 49.5 reading in February, a report from the Institute for Supply Management said. It marked the fifth consecutive month the index showed contraction in manufacturing nationally, though the reading improved from a weaker 48.2 in January.
Separate indexes for Missouri and Kansas improved.
In Kansas, manufacturing employment grew in February and helped to lift its index to 52.3 from 50.7 in January.
Missouri, where the index rose to 52.3 from 47.7 in January, has seen manufacturing jobs decline, though only modestly, and could see gains from the order and production gains, Goss said.