Midwest Manufacturing Conditions At Their Worst In Three Years

Analysts fear economic contraction due to flagging international sales.

Manufacturing conditions in the Midwest, including in Minnesota, are at the worst in at least three years, according to a new survey.
 
The Mid-America Business Conditions Index, which measures economic growth in the manufacturing sector, gave a score of 40.7 in November. That's down from 41.9 in October. A number below 50 indicates economic contraction.
 
“Our overall index has weakened significantly for states and industries heavily dependent on agriculture and energy, which are being hammered by a strong U.S. dollar,” Ernie Goss, director of Creighton’s Institute for Economic Inquiry, said in a statement. Creighton’s IEI conducts the survey.
 
The survey looks at nine states: Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
 
The results line up with a survey of business leaders throughout Minnesota that TCB released in November that found worsening business conditions would arrive this winter.
 
The Star Tribune reports that several large companies in Minnesota, especially those dealing with international markets, including Tennant Co., Polaris Industries and Graco have struggled with currency exchange rates and sluggish sales abroad.
 
“It’s more volatile than we have seen in the past,” Tennant CFO Tom Paulson said.