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Survey suggests growth ahead for Midwest economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A regional economic index has hit its highest level since May 2006.

According to a report released today, the Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region hit 64.3 in March, up from 61.0 in February.

It was the fourth increase in as many months for the survey of supply managers and business leaders in nine states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The index ranges from zero to 100. Organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the next three to six months.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says low interest rates, a stabilizing job market and declines in U.S. unemployment are behind economic optimism of supply managers in the Mid-America region.

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