The monthly survey of purchasing managers in the Midwest shows we’re definitely recovering from the economic downturn of 2001. Creighton University Professor Ernie Goss talks with business leaders in nine states to take the pulse of the region’s economy.The overall index was up for its fourth straight month, to the highest level since April of 2000. Dr. Goss says the employment rate has lagged behind other economic indicators.Production, new orders and other indicators went up, but hiring remains down in the region, and won’t recover ’til late summer. Dr. Goss says companies are taking a wait-and-see approach and want their profits to improve before they begin hiring. Another result of the improving economy may be the Federal Reserve turning around its recent trend to cut interest rates. He says this upturn we’re seeing is a bit stronger than the fed would like, so the board may raise interest rates. Another benefit for farm states is a resurgence in export orders.It’s a result of a turnaround in the global economy, and Goss says the dollar’s also declined on world markets about 10-percent since the start of this year. It makes U-S goods cheaper abroad, good for manufacturers, but also makes imported products more costly for us to buy. Goss talks every month with supply managers and business leaders in the Dakotas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.