DENVER — For a 10th straight month, the overall index for the Mountain States region, a leading economic indicator for the three-state area, moved above growth neutral 50.0. The Business Conditions Index for July climbed to a healthy 58.6 from 58.3 in June and 57.9 in May and is pointing to improving economic conditions for the three-state region composed of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming in the months ahead.
Wyoming’s index was 57.6 in July, up from 57.2 in June and 55.9 in May.
“On an annualized basis, the region has added jobs at a 1.3-percent pace, equaling that of the rest of the nation. However, businesses in the region continue to increase output primarily by expanding the hours worked for current employees. While I expect job growth to improve in the second half of 2010 for the region, the upturn will be quite timid by historical standards,” Goss Institute for Economic Research Director Dr. Ernie Goss said.
The Goss Institute conducts the monthly survey for Supply Management Institutes in the three states comprising the Mountain States region. Goss also directs Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and is the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics. (http://www.ernestgoss.com/aboutus.html
The July employment index rose to a much improved 61.1 from June’s 56.7. This month The Goss Institute asked supply managers about the hiring prospects for their firm over the next six months. Over one-third, or 36 percent, expect increases in hiring in the second half of 2010, while only 11 percent anticipate layoffs at their company in the next six months. In August of last year, 44 percent of supply managers indicated that they expected layoffs in the coming six months.
After rising significantly, the regional price gauge slipped to a still inflationary 65.4 from 76.0 in June.
“While I think that it is too early to ignore the threat of rising inflationary pressures and asset price bubbles, it is clear that the Federal Reserve will not move to raise interest rates before the end of 2010,” said Goss.
Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, captured by the July confidence index, climbed to 62.6 from June’s 55.4 and May’s 58.7. “After bottoming out in 2009, improvements in durable goods manufacturing and mining related firms have boosted the economic outlook six months down the road among supply managers in the Mountain States region,” Goss said.
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