SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator, remained above growth neutral 50.0 in May.

Based on the monthly survey of the Institute of Supply Management membership in Utah, the overall index dipped to 55.3 from 56.0 in April. Components of the May index were new orders at 53.4, production or sales at 54.5, delivery lead time at 55.8, inventories at 52.8, and employment at 60.0.

“Durable goods producers continue to experience healthy expansions in economic activity," said Ernie Goss, economic research director for the Goss Institute at Creighton University. "Metal producers, in particular, are detailing upturns in jobs and overall business activity.”

For the 31st straight month, the overall index for the Mountain States region — covering Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — also advanced above growth neutral 50.0.  The national index, which ranges between 0 and 100, declined to 56.0 from 58.8 in April and 62.6 in March. An index of 50.0 is considered growth neutral.

The overall index is a mathematical average of indices for new orders, production or sales, employment, inventories and delivery lead time. The Goss Institute conducts the monthly survey for Supply Management Institutes in the three states comprising the Mountain States region.

“The businesses that we survey continue to benefit from healthy farm and energy income and exports in early 2012," Goss explained. "However, recent strong gains in the value of the U.S. dollar have reduced energy and farm commodity prices and additionally made U.S. goods less competitively priced abroad."

This has and will continue to soften economic growth in the region, he said.

"Technology firms, especially those dependent on international sales will experience somewhat slower growth in the next three to six months,” Goss said.