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Editorial: Economy has some positive trends

The economic trends across the Midwest are improving according to recent reports. That's a good sign for west central Minnesota.

For the second month in a row, the Rural Mainstreet economic index in the Midwest improved. The overall index rose to 37.5 in October, compared to 36.5 in September and 32.0 in August, according to an Associated Press report.

This index surveys almost 200 communities across 11 Midwest and Plains states.

There was an additional positive trend in Minnesota as the state reported the unemployment rate in September fell to 7.3 percent; a decline for the third straight month. The state unemployment rate is 2.5 percent below the national unemployment rate of 9.8 percent.

In Minnesota, the positive economic trends are being driven by growth in several job sectors: manufacturing, transportation, utilities, information, mining and logging, and financial activities.

Government is a sector lagging now with more than 5,000 jobs lost in September. Schools throughout the state hired fewer teachers in September.

Agriculture is another suffering sector. Nationwide, farm income is expected to fall 20 percent this year. This will have a direct impact in west central Minnesota.

Overall, there are good signs that the economy may be back ontrack. It will take more months of positive trends before one gets completely hopeful, but the recent months are a good start.