Better days ahead for Minnesota manufacturing?

We asked in early July if Minnesota manufacturing had turned a corner given upticks in hours worked and wages during the spring. Those indicators promptly dropped in the next report! New data, though, indicate things really are improving.

Creighton University’s survey on Minnesota’s economy finds supply managers in a better mood in August, with the university’s Minnesota Business Conditions Index jumping to its highest level in more than two years. Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss wrote:

Upturns among non-durable goods firms more than offset weakness in the state’s durable goods sector. Telecommunications firms continue to report weaker economic activity. Supply managers were very positive …

Creighton’s “leading economic indicator” calculation — based on a survey of supply managers — climbed to 58, a regional high, from July’s 45.2 and June’s 43.9. Anything above 50 on the index indicates businesses are expecting growth.

Like our over-optimism in July, data is subject to change. Manufacturing’s taken the biggest job hit in Minnesota, with 38,900 jobs lost in the past year. So there’s a ways to go.

Still, Creighton’s got a pretty good track record. Goss was predicting Minnesota’s unemployment rate would top out at less than 9 percent in this recession. The most recent data — a drop to 8.1 percent in July — is proving him right.

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Are you a worker or manager in Minnesota manufacturing? Check the map for stories other people have told us recently about the job climate in Minnesota, then tell us what you’re seeing.

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