Minnesota business conditions index slipsby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota manufacturers foresee growing strength in the regional economy and continued hiring over the next three to six months.
The Creighton University Minnesota Business Conditions Index slipped slightly in May to about 60, down from 61 in April.
A similar national index of manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management also sagged in May, falling from 54.8 in April to 53.5 last month.
However, May marked the 33rd straight month that the Minnesota index remained above the important threshold of 50, which signals economic expansion. In addition, the employment component of the index jumped from 60.2 in April to 64.7 in May suggesting more robust job growth in coming months.
Creighton University economics Professor Ernie Goss says the state's durable goods sector is faring well.
"Durable goods producers in the state, particularly those tied to international markets, are experiencing very healthy growth. On the other hand, non-durable goods producers, such as food producers, are experiencing less favorable economic conditions. Not only are durable manufacturers in the state adding new workers, they are also increasing the number of work-hours for their current employees," Goss said.
However, national job numbers released Friday indicate the U.S. job market is weakening.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by 69,000 in May, a weaker than expected showing. The unemployment rate notched up slightly to 8.2 percent. Manufacturing employment grew by 12,000 in May. In the first quarter of the year, it had averaged gains of 41,000 jobs per month.
Minnesota's May job numbers will be released June 14. In April, the state's employers shed 31-hundred jobs. However, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.6 percent.