Monthly Midwest Survey Finds the Economy’s Numbers Down in March

The monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders in Iowa and eight other Midwest states finds the economy’s numbers slipped during March, compared to February.

Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says recession warning signals have been flashing for three straight months, but there are now also signs of slow growth.  Inflation is also continuing to climb.

On the 0 to 100 scale, a score of 50 is considered growth neutral and the region’s economy fell from 56.1 in February to 50.8 in March.  Iowa’s Business Conditions Index for March also fell, from February’s 53.2 to 49.4 in March, that’s below growth neutral.

Hiring rates for the region were relatively steady, in what Goss describes as a case of labor hoarding.  Individual companies are reluctant to lay off workers or to fire workers.  He says he sees the opposite in that they’re hiring workers in cases where they don’t really have that significant demand, just to guard themselves against an upturn in the economy and their businesses.