Minnesota's manufacturing sector continues to expand, according to the latest Business Conditions Index report from Creighton University.
In December, Minnesota's index climbed to 56.9, up from 54.7 in November. A score above 50 indicates growth. December marked the 26th straight month that factories in the state signaled expansion. Durable goods manufacturers have noted healthy gains over the past few months, while non-durable goods producers, such as food manufacturers, have suffered somewhat of a slowdown.
Employment ranked as the weakest component of the Minnesota index last month.
Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss says overall employment in Minnesota's manufacturing sector is expected to have finished up 2011 with a growth rate of 0.4 percent. In 2012, that growth rate is projected to triple.
Minnesota fared better last month than the overall nine-state Mid-America region covered by the Creighton survey. The region's index fell to 50.0 for December from 52.6 in November.
"While the reading is well above recessionary values for 2008 and early 2009, our surveys over the past several months indicate that slowdowns in the national and global economies are putting downward pressure on the regional economy," Goss said.