OMAHA–(KFOR Jan. 2)–A bounce back to the regional economy last month, according to the Creighton University Mid America Business Conditions Index.

The December reading for the region was 50.3, up from November’s 42.2. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with anything above 50 as growth neutral. In Nebraska, for the third straight month, the business conditions index remained below growth neutral, but bounced back up to 49.4 in December from November’s 39.3. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics data shows Nebraska’s manufacturing sector boosted employment by 2,100.

Below is the rest of the report from Creighton’s Mid-America Business Conditions Index.

  • The wholesale price gauge fell into a moderate inflationary range from November’s “too hot” reading.
  • On average, supply managers expect prices for inputs that their firm purchases to rise by 5.9% in 2024, or well above wholesale inflation of 0.9% recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the past 12 months ending in November 2023.  
  • Approximately 46% of supply managers expect a recession in 2024.
  • Exports of manufactured goods from the nine-state region expanded from $74.7 billion for the first 10 months of 2022 to $77.9 billion for the same period in 2023 for 4.3% growth (U.S. International Trade Administration).
  • U.S. BLS data showed that for 2023, the region’s manufacturing hourly wage rates expanded by 3.4%.
    • Leading 2023 state manufacturing in wage gains were: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota – all above inflation.
    • Lagging 2023 state manufacturing in wage gains were: Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Oklahoma – all below inflation.