The holiday shopping season is underway with a big bounce in consumer spending, as retailers across Iowa and nationwide report brisk Thanksgiving weekend sales. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the latest monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders finds Iowa in great shape for November. He says Iowa’s economic index is at its highest level in more than three years and continues to trend upwards. Goss says farm income is up “fairly significantly” and while farmers aren’t part of the survey, businesses that sell to the farm sector are — and they’re seeing an upturn. Goss says holiday hirings have helped the Iowa economy. Goss says Iowa’s unemployment rate is still higher than he’d prefer to see but hiring is up for the state in November. Goss expects the unemployment rate to drop in Iowa starting in early 2004 and perhaps running yearlong. He says the potential higher energy prices could cause an upturn in unemployment but for the most part, he says the numbers look very good.
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