Survey Shows Regional Economy Down, But Optimism Up

OMAHA, Neb. – Creighton University’s monthly survey of supply managers in a 9-state region of the Midwest and Plains shows the coronavirus pandemic has knocked the region’s economy for a loop, but that many believe it rebound later this year.

The survey’s overall index, with 50 the neutral point, dropped from 46.7 in March to 35.1 in April, the lowest reading since the depth of the Great Recession in February 2009. The April employment index fell from an already weak 34.7 to a record low 14.5.

On the other hand, the confidence index, which gauges how those surveyed see things in 6 month, bounced back from a record low of 14.5 in March to 45.5 in April, still a minority, but close to half.

The survey also offers numbers for each of the 9 states. Nebraska’s overall index fell 11.8 points last month to 36.0 while the employment index dropped to 26.8 as the number of workers receiving unemployment jumped from 5,000 or half-a-percent of workers covered by unemployment to 60,400 or 6.3%.

South Dakota’s overall index took a similar tumble from 47.4 to 35.9 while the employment index slipped to 26.7 as unemployment rose from 2,800 to 14,400 or from 7-10ths of 1% to 3.5%.

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