Creighton economist finds recession signs in Mid-America region

OMAHA — Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss says it appears the region’s manufacturing sector is entering recession territory.

“That’s going to spill over into the broader economy in the first quarter of 2024,” Goss says.

Goss surveys manufacturing supply managers in Iowa and eight other states monthly. “Approximately six of 10 said recession was the number one risk to their business,” Goss said.

Goss uses those responses and other data to come up with a Mid-America Business Index. He says the region’s index is the lowest its been since June, 2020 — at the beginning of the pandemic. He says in Iowa, business conditions weakened from October to November, although Iowa’s manufacturing sector grew by 2600 jobs over the past 12 months.

“Keep an eye on the price of the barrel of oil. A barrel of oil is now moving upward a bit, west Texas crude approaching $80 a barrel right now,” If that should move into terroritory above $80 toward $90 that would be a problem because that’s going to put upward pressure on inflation.”

Goss made his comments during a video briefing on Friday.