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Report: Growth moderates, expectations rising for last half of year in plains, mountains

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Economic growth moderated in the plains and mountain states in June, but expectations for the remainder of 2024 are rising, according to a report from the Federal Reserve of Kansas City.

“District services activity stayed positive in June, and expectations for the future continued to grow,” Chad Wilkerson, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said in a statement. “Employment declined slightly and selling prices decreased this month.”

The Federal Reserve of Kansas City serves the western third of Missouri, northern New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

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The organization’s composite index, a weighted average of revenue and sales, employment and inventories, declined to a 2 in June after reaching 11 in May and 9 in April.

“Activity in restaurants and hotels grew while the transportation and healthcare sectors declined,” according to the report. “The month-over-month indexes were mixed. Revenues ticked down but remained expansionary while the number of employees, employee hours, and part-time employment all fell slightly. Additionally, wage growth and inventories cooled.

The June report included special questions asked of business leaders about hiring.

“Nearly a quarter of firms stopped posting new positions in the last three months and 13 percent plan to in the next six months, while 12 percent reduced hours for their hired workers and 20 percent plan to,” according to the report. “However, only 6 percent have laid off workers and only 9 percent plan to…”

The report stated 72 percent of businesses cannot find workers with the required skills for their positions and 38 percent reported workers desired more flexible hours. The availability and cost of child care was cited as a problem by 25 percent of the businesses and 10 percent said the availability or cost of housing was a challenge. The immigration status of workers was named as a problem by 10 percent of the businesses.