Iowa’s robust economy is leading the Midwest region, according to the latest monthly survey of business leaders and supply managers in nine states. Creighton University economist Jim Knudsen says whenever the business conditions index rises above 50, that’s a good thing. Professor Knudsen says the overall number is 65-point-seven, indicating strong growth for the months to come. He says that February number is slightly higher than the January readings in Iowa, which were also strong at 64-point-one.He says one weakness on Iowa’s ranking was the “price paid by firms” component, which he blames on higher energy prices and higher steel prices. Knudsen says Iowa is the “highlight of the mid-American region,” showing a relatively strong finish for February in virtually all economic categories. He says consumers are also showing their faith in the state’s economy by their rate of buying.Confidence is down slightly in February from January at 84-point-three, which is still very good as anything over 50 is good and 100 is the maximum. He says export orders for Iowa were at 57-point-four, showing expanding sales abroad.