Survey finds continued, but weaker, economic growth

Minnesota’s manufacturing sector continues to signal economic expansion, but the outlook is for weaker growth. That’s according to the latest Business Conditions Index report from Creighton University, which is based on a monthly survey of supply managers.

The Minnesota index was above growth neutral for the 28th straight month at 54.7, down from October’s 55.4.

A reading above 50 implies economic growth, and contraction below 50.

The survey found employers still planning to hire, but suggests there will be little gusto in payroll growth. The employment component of the index stood at 52.1. Still, that’s up from the reading a month ago of 51.7.

Other components of the index were above growth neutral:

• New orders 51.7

• Production or sales 51.0

• Delivery lead time 59.3

• Inventories 59.5

Ernie Goss, director of Creighton’s Economic Forecasting Group, who oversees the index, provided this detail:

“Durable goods manufacturers reported solid business conditions for the month. So far, manufacturers have relied heavily on increasing the length of the average workweek limiting the growth in payrolls. Since reaching a bottoming out in September 2009, the state has added almost 53,000 jobs. Even so, Minnesota must add another 97,000 jobs to reach pre-recession levels. Our survey results over the last several months point to strong growth with durable goods producers leading the way.”

The overall Business Conditions Index for 9 Central U.S. states climbed to 52.6 from 49.9 for October. November’s reading is the 23rdtime in the past 24 months that the index was above growth neutral.

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