"A separate, widely followed index drawn from purchasing managers showed September’s contraction in manufacturing was the steepest since June 2009, with production, inventories and new orders all falling," Lee writes. "And after adding nearly half a million jobs in the prior two years, which Trump frequently stressed in hard-hat rallies throughout the Midwest, manufacturing employment has stalled."
Manufacturing accounts for about 10 percent of economic activity, but it's more important to rural economies than urban ones, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Nationwide, jobs are still widely available—so much so that there's a labor shortage hampering economic expansion, Tim Henderson reports for Stateline.
However, in the 10 middle-America states where agriculture and energy are essential to the economy, four in 10 community bankers say their local economy is in a recession, according to the latest Mainstreet Economic Report from Creighton University in Omaha. The report covers Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.