The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 2, 2013

Govt. shutdownblamed for survey dip

NORMAN — The federal government’s partial shutdown this past month is getting the blame for a worsening in business conditions in the Midwest. The monthly survey of supply managers and business executives by Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss ranks states with a growth policy ranking.

A number of private companies reported reducing hiring and temporarily cutting employment as a result of the partial government shutdown, Goss said.

Oklahoma’s overall index fell to 48.6 in October, compared with 49.2 in September. Components of the index were new orders at 51.6, production or sales at 46.1, delivery lead time at 47.7, inventories at 48.8 and employment at 48.7.

“Nondurable-goods firms and companies linked to energy are experiencing pullbacks in economic activity. On the other hand, metal producers in the state continue to expand at a solid pace,” Goss said .

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index put the region’s rank at a growth neutral 50, down from 54.8 in September and 53.8 in August. It follows eight consecutive months above growth neutral.

The region’s employment gauge fell below 50.0 last month, dropping to 48.2 from 51.8 in September.

The next six months are more optimistic, according to the survey. The October index on economic optimism rose to 56.0 from September’s 51.8.

The compromise between the White House and Congress “did boost the economic outlook for firms in our survey,” the Associated Press quoted Goss as saying.

Based on confidence, hiring reports and overall business activity evidence in the survey, Goss said he expected holiday buying to be up from last year, “but it will not be a robust holiday buying season, with sales up by less than 4 percent from last year.”

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