Industry News

Consumer confidence skyrockets in Plains States

Manufacturing sector makes comeback

America's West North Central region has scored the biggest gains in consumer confidence over the last year, according to an analysis released today by The Conference Board. The Conference Board's widely watched Consumer Confidence Index for this region – which includes Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas – has climbed from 63.6 to 99.8 over the last year (from April 2003 to April 2004), a more than 50 percent increase. "The solid gains in the Plains States reverse the old gravity rule that says that whatever goes up must come down," said Conference Board Senior Economist Ken Goldstein. "These West North Central states have been dealing with a double whammy for a long time. The three-year nightmare in manufacturing conditions hit this region hard and was accompanied by depressed commodity prices. Now, commodity prices are starting to recover and the manufacturing sector is no longer in free fall. Most importantly, consumers in this ...