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Economic growth slows in Midwest states as trade fears mount

July 2, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Business remains strong in nine Midwest and Plains states, but a new monthly survey suggests growth is slowing as concerns about trade and tariffs increase.

The region’s overall economic index decreased to 61.8 in June from May’s 67.3, but any score above 50 indicates growth.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said the trade concerns and more interest rate increases are likely to slow the region’s economy.

“I expect expanding tariffs, trade restrictions and rising oil prices to slow growth and push inflation into a range leading to more aggressive Federal Reserve rate hikes,” Goss said.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The employment index dipped to 61.9 in June from May’s 66.3.

“Overall employment growth in the region over the past 12 months has been healthy but expanding at a rate below that of the nation,” Goss said.

But business leaders remain optimistic about their prospects over the next six months. The region’s confidence index declined to 59.8 in June from May’s 66.3.

The wholesale inflation index registered 86.9 in June, down slightly from May’s 88.9. That reflects the increase in products that steel and aluminum and increases in shipping costs.

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