The February Mid-America Business Conditions Index released Monday by Creighton University showed continued improvements in Oklahoma.
Economist Ernie Goss said Oklahoma’s index has remained above the 50.0 threshold for the last seven months, thanks to increased oil prices.
He said the overall index from a monthly survey of supply managers improved to 60.5 from January’s 57.8.
Anything over 50 on his survey and index is considered a positive economic sign. The February index showed new orders were at 62.7 in Oklahoma and production or sales increased to 64.8.
“Average hourly earnings for Oklahoma private-sector workers expanded by a solid 3.3 percent over the past 12 months. Durable goods manufacturers in the states are expanding at a brisk pace while nondurable goods producers are experiencing pullbacks in economic activity,” said Goss.
The overall Business Conditions Index which covers a 9-state region moved above growth neutral for the 15th straight month. Goss said by all indications, the region will see healthy growth for the next three to six months. Nearly 60 percent of the firms in his survey indicated they plan to add workers over the next six months.
The index for Kansas showed an improvement to 62.4. But Goss indicated the growth and improvement are “tepid” at best.
“Both nondurable manufacturing and durable goods producers in the state are expanding at a very slow pace,” he said in his monthly report.
The index in Arkansas moved from 50.0 in January to 55.4 in February.
“Nondurable manufacturing in the state is growing at a very strong pace while Arkansas durable goods producers continue to expand at a slow rate,” explained Goss.
Things are better in Missouri where the index rose to 58.0 and average hourly earnings for private sector-workers rose 4.5%. Goss said durable goods manufacturers are expanding “at a very strong rate.” But nondurable goods producers are at a slower but positive pace.