Business Conditions Index for Oklahoma dips in February
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 7:02 AM
A state economic gauge dropped in February but still points to growth in the near future.
Oklahoma's Business Conditions Index dipped to 52.5 from 53.8 in January, according to information released Friday by economists at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
The measurement, 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 is a sign of economic contraction.
"It was a pretty good report, but Oklahoma has far exceeded the other states in terms of growth," said Ernie Goss, director of Creighton's Economic Forecasting Group. "The gap is closing a bit between Oklahoma and the region and the United States because ... the energy sector is getting a little long in the tooth in terms of growth, and some prices are coming down."
Since the recovery began in 2009, Oklahoma's unemployment rate has declined by 2 percentage points while the state's labor force has expanded by almost 40,000 workers.
"Durable goods manufacturers such as metal product producers are reporting very healthy growth while nondurable manufacturers including food processors are detailing pullbacks in economic activity," Goss said additionally in written comments. "Based on our survey results over the past several months, Oklahoma growth will continue on a positive, but slower pace."
Oklahoma's confidence index rose to 52.2 in February from 50.0 in January. By contrast, Creighton's nine-state Mid-America region saw its confidence index fall to 50.6 last month.
Goss said the looming federal sequestration process likely hurt confidence.
One-third of the businesses surveyed indicated that automatic spending cuts at the federal level would have a negative impact on sales. Among those affected would be manufacturers that sell goods to the government, Goss said.
The Business Conditions Index for the nine-state region fell to 53.1 from 53.2 in January, Creighton's group reported.
Original Print Headline: Oklahoma economic gauge dips for month
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466