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Manufacturing Survey Shows Strong Economic Growth Continuing Across Region Including Oklahoma

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A regional economic indicator shows strong growth continuing in a nine-state area that includes Oklahoma.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index hit 69.6 in February, its highest since October and second-highest since April 2004. Numbers above 50 on the 0–100 scale indicate economic growth. Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss said that mark comes as the economy is still another 3% to 4% below pre-COVID levels.

"The Biden stimulus package, $1.9 trillion, but much of that – not all of that’s in 2021. That’s going to really kick this economy along, along with the rollout of the vaccine. That’s the most important factor," Goss said.

Oklahoma stayed in growth territory in February, but its state index of 67.1 is sixth in the nine-state region.

Most of the manufacturing supply managers surveyed said supply bottlenecks are becoming an issue.

"Thirty-three percent reported transportation issues. That’s shipping problems … trucking issues, train issues. And so, that’s slowing," Goss said. "Twenty-three percent reported suppliers’ cutbacks and shutdowns. In other words, having to switch suppliers."

Goss thinks rising inflation could soon be an issue as well, especially for steel, agricultural commodities and building products. Those costs could creep from manufacturers to consumers before long.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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