Survey shows continued solid manufacturing growth across region that includes Oklahoma
A leading survey still indicates healthy manufacturing growth for a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma for the next three to six months, but supply chain issues are expected to continue.
The Mid-American Business Conditions Index for November was 60.2, down five points from October but still indicating solid growth on the 0 to 100 scale. Numbers above 50 indicate growth, and the index has landed in that territory for 18 of the past 19 months.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said despite the rosy outlook, half of the supply managers surveyed think supply chain disruptions will get worse through the first half of 2022.
"Supply chain managers rank transportation delays as the biggest supply chain disruptions, and next along the line was labor shortages — unloading, loading those transportation vehicles. Also, logistical support was a big issue going forward," Goss said.
Goss is keeping an eye on the new omicron variant’s impact on the manufacturing economy. He expects long-term interest rates to be lower if omicron spreads widely but higher if it’s well contained.
"Also, imports and exports will obviously be hurt if the variant — I'll call it the South African variant of COVID-19 — if that does expand in the U.S. and, of course, globally. That would be a real big issue," Goss said.
Oklahoma’s overall index for November was down six-tenths of a point to 62.4, lower than just three other states. Only Missouri saw its index rise from October. Oklahoma also has the biggest percentage gap between pre-pandemic and current manufacturing employment.