Manufacturing up. Exports and imports continue to expand at marginal levels

April 1, 2019 – The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported today that national economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March, and the nation’s overall economy grew for the 119th consecutive month.

ISM’s New Export Orders Index slipped to 51.7 percent in March, 1.1 percentage points lower compared to the February reading of 52.8 percent, indicating slower growth in new export orders for the 37th consecutive month. “Export orders continued to expand but retreated to lower growth levels consistent with the prior five months,” said IBNewsmag publisher, Fred Baehner.

Heartland new exports followed a similar pattern with both imports and exports slipping in March. The new export orders index grew slower at 53.4 from February’s 55.6, and the import index slid to 51.7 from 54.8 in February. Any reading of 50.0 or above indicates growth.

cutsheet Image Goss

“The global economic slowdown and a strong dollar served to restrain exports for the month,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., Director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics in the Heider College of Business.

“Across the Heartland region the export of agriculture commodities remains very important with a total of $6.8 billion for 2018 which represented a gain of 8.1 percent from 2017. In 2018, the export of agriculture commodities produced approximately $20 billion in overall economic activity in the Mid-America supporting a total of 96,000 jobs in the region,” explained Prof. Goss.

The Heartland states covered in Creighton’s report include Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North & South Dakota.

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