The economic recovery is back on track for Iowa and the eight other states surveyed every month by Creighton University’s economics team. The latest survey’s overall index rose in May to its highest level since June of 2002, but Creighton economist Dr. Ernie Goss says employment is still lagging in the region, and in Iowa. He says businesses are cutting labor costs so the employment index was below growth neutral. Iowa’s jobless figure rose to four-point-one percent last month, up from four-percent-even the previous month. Dr. Goss says he expects unemployment numbers to continue to rise into the latter part of the summer. While production numbers for the region were strong in May, Goss says the same number or fewer employees did the work. Goss says a good indicator in the survey was on the “price paid” index, which fell to its lowest level since December. Goss says lower energy costs since the end of the war in Iraq is a main factor for the decrease.Goss says exports are improving in Iowa and in the region thanks to the lower value of the dollar overseas, but he adds imports remain high despite the higher cost of imported goods. Goss expects that to change in the near future.He expects continued economic improvements in the months ahead. Goss says the new tax cut package from President Bush will have a positive impact on the stock market and should encourage greater consumer spending.
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