Omaha The economy appears to be on the mend in nine Midwest and Plains states and may even be growing again, according to a survey of supply managers and other business executives released Thursday.
The Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region grew to 56.2 in September, compared with 48.4 in August and 51.7 in July. A score above 50 suggests economic growth in the next three to six months.
“This month’s large bounce is a welcome surprise and further evidence that the economic recovery is under way,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the monthly survey. “However, the volatility of the index over the past several months points to the fragility of the economic upturn.”
The employment index was in positive territory for the first time since March 2008. The September employment index climbed to 52.1, compared with 44.2 in August and 43 in July.
“I think the worst of the job losses are behind us for most states in the region,” Goss said. “However, any job gains are likely to be very modest until well into 2010.”
Government data shows that the region has lost nearly 400,000 jobs, or about 3 percent of its employment, since September 2008.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.