The Midwestern economy is showing its most robust numbers in seven years according to the latest monthly survey from Creighton University. Economic professor Jim Knudsen says the survey of supply managers and business leaders in the nine-state region indicates solid growth.Professor Knudsen says the growth is driven mostly by new orders and production. Confidence is very high and firms are looking ahead with optimism. Knudsen says despite the uncertainty surrounding the Asian embargo on U.S. beef, economic conditions look very strong, reversing the softening detected at the end of 2003. The only downside indicates input prices for producers are high which may mean higher prices for consumers and the Federal Reserve may soon increase interest rates. As for Iowa in particular, Knudsen says the picture looks fairly bright. Iowa numbers for January are slightly lower than for December but they’re still relatively high for forecasting optimism for the future. He says new orders are high and production is up slightly, though prices for producers appear to be going up which could damped the recovery slightly.
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