01202019Sun
Last updateFri, 18 Jan 2019 3pm

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Mid-America Economic Index Sinks for September

The September Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, an economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, sank for the month, but remained above growth neutral, and continues to point to positive economic growth for the next three to six months.

The Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, fell to 57.5 from August’s strong 61.1. This is the 22nd straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0. 


Durable Goods Orders Up 4.5% in August

New orders for manufactured durable goods in the U.S. in August increased $11.1 billion or 4.5% to $259.6 billion, the Department of Commerce announced. This increase, up two of the last three months, followed a 1.2% July decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.6%. 

Canada, U.S. Agree to Revise Free Trade Agreement

In a joint statement, representatives from Canada and the United States confirm that a new NAFTA or North American Free Trade Agreement was reached, and the deal will now be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

According to Reuters, “U.S. officials intend to sign the agreement with Canada and Mexico at the end of November, after which it would be submitted to the U.S. Congress for approval, a senior U.S. official said.” 

U.S. Economy Grew By 4.2% in Second Quarter

U.S. GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of 2018, according to the most recent estimate released by the Department of Commerce. In the first quarter, GDP increased 2.2%. The change in GDP was unrevised from the last estimate, reflecting a downward revision to private inventory investment that was offset by upward revisions to state and local government spending, PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports and residential fixed investment. Imports were revised down slightly. 

Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues Amid Uncertainty

Texas factory activity continued to expand in September, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, dipped six points to 23.3, indicating output growth continued but at a slower pace than last month. Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive this month, although outlooks were less optimistic, and uncertainty increased further.

Other indexes of manufacturing activity also suggested slower expansion in September. The new orders index fell nine points to 14.7, its lowest reading in six months. Similarly, the growth rate of orders index slipped to 11.5, also a six-month low. The capacity utilization index retreated slightly to 21.6, while the shipments index fell five points to 20.8.  

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