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      Midwest Remains in Economic Slump According to Survey

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      A monthly economic survey of business leaders rose again last month, but still suggests that the economy will remain sluggish for the next three to six months.

      Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says he's expecting only small regional increases in the job market. The survey suggests that hiring will be slow in the coming months and some manufacturing jobs could even be lost.

      The overall economic index for the region improved to 49.5 in December, up from 48 in November and 46.5 in October. But that number remains in negative territory at under 50.

      The survey of business leaders and supply managers uses a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor.

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

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