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Economy

Report: Midwest Economy Continues To Struggle

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A regional economic report out of Creighton University indicates that December of 2015 continued a sluggish trend for Kansas’ economy.

The report surveys supply managers and business leaders in a nine-state region, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Kansas Business Conditions Index for December dropped to 41.7 from November’s 42.6. On a scale of 0-100, scores below 50 are considered a slow-growth economy.

Economist Ernie Goss of Creighton University linked economic troubles in Kansas—and much of the midwest—to downturns in manufacturing.

Kansas lost more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs last year, forming a rate of about 1.5 percent.

“That might not sound like a lot, but that’s more than twice the pace of the U.S. economy,” Goss said.

Goss expects the downturn to continue into at least the first quarter of 2016.

Altogether, the nine state region included in the Creighton University report scored a 39.6 in December—down from November’s 40.7.

Many states struggled in the areas of exports, agriculture and energy.

Goss says there is hope, however. If Congress can agree to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Goss says it will drastically improve the ability of U.S. manufacturers and farmers to sell goods overseas.