State economic index points to growth
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
9/05/12 at 2:56 AM
A leading economic indicator for Oklahoma took an upward turn in August, continuing to indicate growth in the coming months.
After dropping three straight months, the state's Business Conditions Index changed course and advanced to 53.6 last month from July's 52.7 reading, economists at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., announced Tuesday.
The index, taken from a survey of businesses, is derived from new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time. A number greater than 50 signals expansion in the next three to six months, and a number less than 50 points to economic contraction.
"Durable and nondurable goods manufacturers in the state, especially those linked to energy, continue to experience healthy growth," said Ernie Goss, director of Creighton's Economic Forecasting Group, in written comments. "Oklahoma's employment level is more than 8,000, or 0.5 percent, above its pre-recession level.
"I expect the state to continue to add jobs in the next three to six months, but at a slower pace than that experienced in the first half of 2012."
Oklahoma's confidence index rose to a relatively weak level of 42.3 from 37.5 in July.
The drought has been a big issue in Oklahoma, and at the national level uncertainty exists about the economy in Europe and around the globe, the "fiscal cliff" in Washington and the upcoming elections, Goss said in a phone interview.
He noted that Oklahoma and North Dakota - two energy-heavy states - are among the strongest in the survey's nine-state Mid-America region.
The region's overall index rose to 49.7, up from 48.7 in July.
The index is similar to its condition in 2007 when the country went into a recession, but it's still not weak enough to point to a recession, Goss said. The index would have to drop into the low 40s before he would anticipate a return to recessionary economic conditions.
Export numbers are weakening as China's economy is slowing, and Europe is in recession, Goss said
"There are a lot of negatives out there, but on a positive note housing is turning around," he said.
In addition to Oklahoma, the Mid-America region includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Original Print Headline: Oklahoma economic index points to growth
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466