The May Mid-America Business Conditions Index, an economic indicator for a nine-state region that stretches from Arkansas to Minnesota, is pointing to strong growth for the next three to six months.

Creighton University’s Economist Ernie Goss who oversees the survey says the index is at the highest level in 14-years.

“The overall index climbed to 67.3. Sixty-seven point three is very strong, it’s up from April’s 64.5. It’s the eighteenth straight month it’s been above growth neutral. So, this economy, this manufacturing economy is surging, it’s growing, it’s rocketing.” 

More than half of supply managers indicated that finding and hiring qualified workers continues to be the biggest challenge. But, May employment surged to 66.3 from April’s 48.1.

“And the overall growth, year-over-year, is .9-percent, compared to the US number which is 1.6-percent. So the comparisons, we’re just not getting the job growth in the region that we see in the US. That has a lot to do with just finding and hiring qualified workers.”

Goss adds that Minnesota ranks eighth among the nine states in the region in terms of overall manufacturing growth over the past 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, the Minnesota economy has added 2,800 durable goods manufacturing jobs for a growth of 1.4-percent, and 1,900 nondurable manufacturing jobs for a growth of 1.6-percent.