Omaha, Neb. After a two-year high of optimism in the region's economy, company leaders in nine states wavered a bit on the status of their businesses in July, a monthly survey indicated Friday.
The overall index for the Mid-America Business Conditions Survey decreased slightly to 56 in July from June's 57.3, said Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who conducted the survey.
A reading below 50 means manufacturing activity is slowing; above 50 indicates the industry is growing.
Goss surveyed business leaders and manufacturers in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The employment index for the region dropped from June's three-year high of 55.7 to 51.1 in July. While July's employment index remained above growth-neutral 50, the reading indicated only modest job growth.
In Kansas, the overall index climbed to 55.9 from June's 48.1. A strong new orders index of 70 and production at 60 offset a weaker employment reading of 40. The employment reading indicated continued cutbacks after the state lost almost 5,000 jobs in the first half of 2003.