OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The Midwest bucked a national trend of contracting manufacturing activity, an economics professor said Thursday.
"The East and West coasts have been more affected by the anthrax scares and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," Creighton University professor Ernie Goss said. "I think it has affected businesses on the coasts."
Nationally, manufacturing activity declined for the 15th consecutive month in October, pushed lower by the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York. The Tempe, Ariz.-based National Association of Purchasing Management said Thursday that its index of business activity plunged to 39.8 from 47 in September. Analysts had been expecting a reading of 44.5.
An index above 50 signifies growth in manufacturing, while a figure below 50 shows contraction.
Goss uses the same methodology as the national survey in a nine-state region, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The overall index in the survey of purchasing managers and business leaders in the Midwest rose in October to 49.1 from September's 44.9, Goss said.
Lower energy prices helped keep inflationary pressures mild in the area, Goss said. Less dependence on automobile and other durable good industries like appliances also may have helped the region, he said.
Minnesota's overall Business Conditions Index rose to its highest level since December 2000. "However, October's reading of 46.7, up from September's 38.5, continues to point to economic weakness in the state's economy," Goss said. "... Minnesota's economic downturn, which began in manufacturing, has now spread to the state's large service sector"
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