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Local & Regional

Coronavirus Tempers Economic Outlook in Oklahoma's Nine-State Region

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The coronavirus is a major factor in a softer economic outlook for a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

According to the Mid-America Business Conditions Index, 40% of supply managers said the coronavirus is hurting their companies. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said 27% are cutting back on international buying, and 24% switched to domestic vendors for some orders.

"The supply managers buy from China, and if you’re buying from there, you’re much more reluctant to go to China to search for goods and raw materials and supplies. So, that’s where we’re seeing the impact," Goss said.

Goss said the virus is also taking off just as international trade agreements appear likely.

"Now, we are going to see nations being much more agreeable to trade, but then there’s the issue of individuals going to submit deals. I mean, travel is getting hit," Goss said.

Oklahoma’s score on the Mid-America Business Conditions Index in February stayed above growth neutral for just the second time since October, but it’s one of the lowest in the region.

The state ranks last over the past year in manufacturing employment growth, losing 2.5% of jobs in that time. Manufacturing wage growth was sixth in the region at 3.3%.