Goss: Mountain states continue economic growth

Business conditions and overall economic growth in the mountain states are continuing healthy growth – but at a slower rate than this time last year, a trend at least one economist believes will continue for the rest of the year.80410231

According to the monthly survey of mountains states by the Goss Institute for Economic Research, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, are displaying a “very healthy reading” that points to positive regional growth for the next three to six months.

The news was particularly good for Colorado.

“For the first half of 2013, the Colorado economy has added jobs at a pace more than double that of the nation,” said Dr. Ernie Goss, executive director of the institute. ” Non-durable and durable goods producers, especially those linked to construction and vehicle manufacturing, are experiencing upturns in business activity.”

The  overall index, or Business Conditions Index, an average of indices for new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time declined only slightly from to 55.1 from 58.6 in June for all three states.  An index of 50.0 is considered growth neutral.

“As in the last several months, economic soft patches in the mining and agriculture sectors are spilling over into the broader economy.  Furthermore, much weaker export numbers are likely to restrain growth in the months ahead,” he said.  ”Our surveys over the past several months indicate that growth for the second half of 2013 will be positive, but down from the same period for 2012.”

The index also tracked employment, pricing, consumer confidence and inventory. Here’s a roundup for those areas:

Employment:  The employment index slumped for the month.  The hiring gauge dropped slightly below growth neutral for July.  The index fell to 49.4 from June’s 52.3 and May’s much stronger 57.1.

Wholesale Prices: The prices-paid index, which tracks the cost of raw materials and supplies, sank to 52.5 from 55.9 in June.

Business Confidence:  Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the business confidence index, fell to 52.1 from June’s 54.3.

Inventories:  Supply managers in the three-state region added to inventories of raw materials and supplies for the month.  The index declined to 58.7 from 67.7 in June.

Trade:  The new export order reading for the Mountain States region decreased to 51.8 from June’s 53.6.  The import reading for the month dipped to 48.4 from 53.1 in June.

Other Components: Other components used to calculate the overall index for July were new orders at 53.5, down from 57.0 in June; production or sales at 54.3, down from last month’s 55.3; and delivery lead time at 59.2, down slightly from 60.6 in June.