A study of economic conditions for the Midwest, including Iowa, found the numbers dipping in July but they were still considered healthy, in the monthly survey from Creighton University. The results point to an expanding regional economy in the months ahead, according to Creighton economist Ernie Goss.

“The real strong regional economy that we got the first half of the year appears to be weakening or at least softening and I expect that to continue a bit,” Goss says. “Still, the numbers were pretty good for the month of July.” The survey of business leaders in the nine-state region found the continued economic recovery of the past several months is still surging, but at a slower pace.

“The supply managers that we survey, we asked them about current conditions and they were hiring for the month of July,” Goss says. “We asked them to look out six months and tell us about hiring over the next half year. They were much more positive in July of this year than they were last year in November and this year in January.”

Iowa Workforce Development says the state’s unemployment rate for June stood at 6.8%, unchanged from May. July jobless numbers haven’t been released yet. Goss says Iowa and the region are generally in better shape for jobs than many other parts of the country.

Goss says, “We’re not seeing the hiring we’d like to see but if you compare this part of the country, and that’s the nine states stretching from North Dakota and Minnesota in the north to Oklahoma and Arkansas in the south, the growth there is much better than what we’re seeing in the rest of the nation.”

Goss says Iowa’s durable goods producers are reporting upturns in hiring and hours worked for current employees, which he says is now pushing the overall state economy forward.