OMAHA — The Creighton University survey of manufacturing supply managers for Iowa and eight other states was above growth neutral for April after two straight months below the mark.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. “The overall Index rose to its highest level since September of last year, and of course that’s a good sign,” Goss says.

The survey questions the business managers in several areas and scores the overall index on a 100 point scale. Goss says there’s several positives in the survey. “Inflation is in a moderate range, although it is still a bit tighter than we’d like to see. We asked the supply managers about wage gains and three and a half percent, which doesn’t sound like much it’s better than what we’ve been seeing,” Goss says.

He says the wage gain comes as the wage trend has been a bit down to sideways. Goss says a negative involved workforce numbers. “The supply managers reported that their companies had lost jobs for the month and of course, that’s not good,” he says. “The growth that we’re seeing at employment levels at the national level those are concentrated in certain industries that will be healthcare and government and leisure and hospitality. So manufacturing at the national level has also been declining.”

Goss says Iowa has lost around 1000 manufacturing jobs in the last month, which is not bad compared to other states. “Iowa is holding its own, but again we’d like to see some better numbers in manufacturing — that’s certainly the case for Iowa and for the region,” Goss says.

He says all of the states in the index are pretty similar in the overall index. “Minnesota on the lower end and South Dakota on the higher end. But when you put it all together Iowa is moving I would say, a bit up to sideways in the manufacturing economy. Of course that’s somewhat connected to what we call the durable goods sector and durable goods, again connected to exports. So that’s what we’re seeing,” Goss says.

Goss says some of the managers say the price of fuel and housing are starting to impact their business dramatically.

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